• California Tightens the Noose on Unlicensed Contractors
  • September 14, 2009
  • Law Firm: Alston & Bird LLP - Atlanta Office
  • In White v. Cridlebaugh, 175 Cal.App.4th 1535 (2009), the California Court of Appeal's latest decision interpreting California's Contractors State License Law (Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code ยง7000, et seq.; the "License Law"), the court confirmed prior case law holding that an unlicensed contractor has no legal right to recover any money from the project owner for the value of work performed.1 However, the court then went a step further, holding that an unlicensed contractor also has no right to defend an action by the owner by offsetting the value of its work against the owner's damage claims. This ruling clears up lingering uncertainty regarding the viability of offsets following the 2001 amendments to the License Law, which created a provision expressly stating that claims could be brought against unlicensed contractors to recover all compensation paid to the unlicensed contractor.