Contractor Licensing Law revisited: triable issue whether contracting entity and licensed entity are one and the same
Since the California Legislature amended Business & Professions Code section 7031, subdivision (e), to narrow the doctrine of substantial compliance with contractor licensing requirements, a contractor attempting to recover for construction work performed may no longer avoid the harshness of the bar against recovery by claiming lack of licensure was merely a matter of form. On this subject, I authored the case of Opp v. St Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co. (2007) 154 Cal.App.4th 71. Opp involved an individual who was barred from utilizing his personal license because he was a different entity than the corporate entity that contracted to perform the work in question.
In this blog's June 27, 2011 edition, I discussed the contrasting facts of Ball v. Steadfast-BLK (2011) 196 Cal.App.4th 694. There, the trial court's judgment barring recovery was reversed because the business name listed in the contract was deemed one and the same as the individual sole proprietor operating the business, although the owners name appeared nowhere in the business name; the business was not a legal entity licensable separate from its owner who was licensed.
Montgomery Sansome LP v. Rezai (filed March 28, 2012) 2012 DJDAR 4042 presents yet another variant on this issue. Defendants hired "Montgomery Sansome Ltd. Lp, 305 Adrian Road, Millbrae" to perform repairs at an apartment building they owned; the work orders had the quoted information printed on the work orders along with contractor's license # 741713. Defendants paid $65,000 on the contract prior to terminating it. Plaintiff claims a balance of about $203,000 is owed it.