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Re: Contractors Reputation

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-----Original Message-----
From: JohnOttCE(--nospam--at) <JohnOttCE(--nospam--at)>
To: seaoc(--nospam--at) <seaoc(--nospam--at)>
Date: Sunday, September 07, 1997 6:23 PM
Subject: Re: Contractors Reputation

>I was tempted to comment on the plight of Dennis too. But you answered
>probably better than I would have.
>The problem with disputes is that they never (and I mean NEVER) seem to
>out the way you want them to. A job that I did over 25 years ago involved a
>rather pain in the #@% kind of client, but the fee that I contracted for
>it worth it (Or so I thought).
>The contract was for $18,000 to develop one commercial building under the
>Santa Monica Freeway together with schematic drawings for four additional
>buildings. Not bad 25 years ago!
>The schematics were prepared and delivered to the client. The plans and
>engineering for the one building were completed and the client obtained a
>building permit from the City of L.A. My billing went unanswered for the
>schematics and the final payment on the plans and engineering. (This was in
>my youth when I trusted clients).
>Eventually the check in the mail never showed up and so I decided to sue.
>unpaid amount amounted to approx 50% of the total fee. The lawsuit was
>answered with a "counter-claim" for $135,000 against me. My client claimed
>the plans were no good and that he could not use anything that I had
>delivered to him. In addition he claimed that I had "delayed" him and that
>was losing rent on the completed facilities that he hadn't built yet.
>We went to court and the final result that I won a judgement for my fees,
>less my attorneys fee which translated into the fact that I would have been
>better off just walking away. The lesson to Dennis is:
>This is a poor business to be in when the relationship is not strong with
>client. In most events when their is any controversy of any kind the
>relationship breaks down with the client and the engineer loses. It is sad
>but a fact of life.
>Obviously, over the years I have revised my contracts to take care of some
>these problems, but even so I take some lumps, just like the bulk of the
>engineers do.
>Move on!
>Best regards,
>             John Ott

John, thank you. Your wisdom came through loud and clear. I'm still in the
angry state and don't wish to lie down just yet, but I realize that I will
gain little from my efforts.  I guess that I gained much just by feeling as
though there were a few people who really understand the frustration as you
all do. I need to be hit over the head a few times before I'll rest - it is
my tenatious nature.
Thank you again for the words of wisdom, I do appreciate them.