Harris & Engler Firm News and Ohio Law Updates


Stay up to date with the latest news and events going on at Harris & Engler or keep up to date with the latest and most relevant law in Ohio and in the Federal Courts for Harris & Engler law firm's main areas of practice, including Family Law, Business Law, ERISA, and Litigation.  
Most of the time a homeowner has a problem with a contractor, it is because the contractor has not finished the work or they've done a bad job.  It's an even bigger problem if the contractor has been paid in full for their incomplete or shoddy work.

On the other hand, if the contractor has not been paid in full, they may be threatening to file a mechanic's lien or take other legal action unless they're paid.  This puts the homeowner in a precarious situation, especially if the contractor is demanding payment in full before the work is done.

Ohio Contractor Dispute Attorneys

The law firm of Harris Engler LLC helps homeowners across Ohio with all ranges of disputes with contractors and home builders.  Ideally, an attorney can help you to resolve things without a lawsuit. If a contractor has filed a mechanic's lien on your property in Ohio then you will want to reach out to the law firm of Harris Engler LLC to discuss the options for removing the mechanic's lien.  The attorneys at Harris Engler LLC also help homeowners in Columbus and across Central Ohio filing lawsuits against contractors and builders to recover money overpaid for incomplete or shoddy work or to go after contractors and builders for damages.

What Are My Options for Resolving a Dispute with a Contractor?

The first main question is whether or not the homeowner's relationship with the contractor has deteriorated to the point where the contractor is no longer welcome on the property.  If the contractor did a bad job, then no homeowner is going to want or trust that contractor to finish the job. At that point, it is time to get someone competent in to finish the job.  Then you're left dealing with the issue of how much was the contractor paid and how much was the work that they actually did worth.  If you paid more than the work was worth, then you've got a claim for damages against that contractor.  It is usually the best idea to get a second written estimate from a competent contractor describing the ways in which the first contractor screwed up and then itemizing the cost to fix those issues.  

Homeowners will want to get an attorney involved in their disputes with contractors or builders as soon as you reach a stalemate where no more work is getting done and there are no solutions on the table.  At this point, an attorney can step in, review the contracts and estimates at issue, the pictures of the work done so far, and contact the contractor demanding a solution that is in line with the homeowners goals.  If those solutions cannot be worked out amicably between the parties then the next step would be to file a lawsuit against the contractor or builder.

Do I Need to File a Lawsuit Against My Contractor?

Usually an attorney will try to see if there's a way to work things out without filing a lawsuit.  But if that does not work out and there's significant money or damages at stake then you may have to file a lawsuit against the contractor or builder in order to try to get a resolution.  Evan T. Engler is an attorney and partner at Harris Engler LLC who is very experienced with construction litigation and in seeking justice on behalf of homeowners wronged by contractors and builders.  He can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Ohio has some consumer protection statutes that can impose some stringent requirements on contractors who do work on residential property and if those requirements are not met then there can be serious consequences in a court of law.  

If you're in a stalemate with your builder or contractor, they've taken your money without doing the work, or they've done a terrible job, then it is time to get an attorney involved.  You can contact the law firm of Harris Engler LLC by calling and leaving a voicemail at (614) 610-9988 or you can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and briefly describe the type of issue you're having.  An attorney will be back in touch with you to discuss your case as soon as possible.

Columbus Ohio Attorneys Experienced in Getting You Paid the Money You Are Owed

If you or your business has peformed services or provided goods to an individual or a business and you have not been paid, then it is more than frustrating - it affects your livelihood.  It gets personal when an individual or business screws you over by not paying you what you are owed.  It affects your ability to provide for yourself and your family.  In times like those it is best to keep your emotions in check and make some business decisions.  The law firm of Harris Enger LLC represents contractors, tradespeople, small businesses, large businesses, and public corporations all across Ohio to get the money they are owed.  The attorneys at Harris Engler LLC also provide its contractors and business clients with a full spectrum of other legal services, such as lawsuit representation, contract drafting, and property issues.

When Does It Make Sense to Take Legal Action For the Amount You Are Owed?

The honest answer is if you're owed just a few hundred dollars then it is probably not worth the trouble of pursuing legal action.

If you are owed under $6,000, then the action you should take depends on how the debt was incurred.  If you are owed money because you did work on someone's property, then you should file a mechanic's lien.  There are some tight timelines to file a lien so you should contact an attorney at Harris Engler LLC as soon as possible to discuss this option.  

If you are owed under $6,000 for other reasons, then you should consider filing a complaint in small claims court.  Incorporated entities (like LLCs or corporations) cannot file or defend itself in a lawsuit without an attorney.  Basically, the Ohio Supreme Court considers it unauthorized practice of law for anyone other than an attorney to take action to represent a company in court.  Hiring an attorney, even in a small claims case for under $6,000 can often cost a couple thousand dollars.  Although a company will need an attorney no matter the size of the lawsuit, an individual will have to weigh the economic pros and cons of hiring an attorney to represent them in a small claims lawsuit.

Lawsuits Over $6,000

If you or your business are owed over $6,000, then it almost always makes sense to hire an attorney to pursue your case.  Lawsuits are complicated.  There are a lot of different kinds of issues at stake.  You wouldn't try to perform a surgery on yourself and so too you shouldn't try to pursue a high stakes lawsuit on your own.  The attorneys at Harris Engler LLC help individuals and business of all sizes with all their litigation and corporate needs across Ohio.  The law firm of Harris Engler LLC is located in Columbus, Ohio, and for lawsuits its attorneys mostly practice in the Central Ohio counties of Franklin, Delaware, Fairfield, Licking, Union, Madison, and Pickaway.

The Best Time to Get Your Estate Plan in Order is Now

If you own real property, have children, or are in a committed relationship, then you should have an estate plan in place.  An estate plan is a relatively simple way to make life easier on your loved ones after you pass away.  An estate plan typically consists of a Last Will and Testament, Power of Attorney, Health Care Power of Attorney, and Living Will.  For certain situations or for certain assets you may also have a Trust as part of your estate plan.  You can read more about what these other estate planning documents are and what you need them for here.  

Almost Everyone Should Have a Will

If you're over age 18 and you own a car then you should have a Will.  People think you need to be rich to have a Will, but truly a Will is useful for everyone, not just the extraordinarily wealthy.  If you die with a car in your name then your loved ones will need to open up an estate in your local probate court in order to transfer title of your car.  It is relatively difficult, time consuming, and more expensive to open an estate for someone without a Will.  This is because first you will have to get someone to be the court appointed administrator of the estate.  The administrator may have to post a bond in the amount of twice the value of whatever assets are in the estate just to be able to transfer the assets to the next of kin.  This makes it time consuming to get appointed by the court as the administrator and it makes it expensive to potentially have to post a bond.  Those burdens can be eliminated simply by having a Will.

A Will is not simply a tool for the wealthy to pass on their assets and death, it is an act of love that someone does to make life easier on their loved ones after their death.  Your loved ones will already be dealing with the grief of your loss after your death, one thing you can do to make things easier on them is to have an estate plan in place to streamline and simplify the process.

If you'd like to talk to an attorney about getting a Will or other estate planning documents in order then feel free to call an attorney at Harris & Engler today.

Central Ohio Estate Planning Attorneys

The estate planning attorneys at Harris & Engler serve the Columbus, Delaware, and greater Central Ohio area with all of their estate planning and administration needs.  You can reach a local estate planning attorney today by calling (614) 610-9988 or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

COVID-19 Update on Civil Litigation In The Columbus, Ohio Area

With the COVID-19 numbers far surpassing what they once were during the March through June court shutdowns, you may be wondering what the courts in Columbus and greater Central Ohio are doing now.  The good news is that by now all the courts across Central Ohio have developed COVID-19 protections and protocols.  In Columbus, Ohio, the Franklin County courts are operating relatively smoothly but with social distancing measures in place.  The Franklin County Municipal Court has some different rules in place than the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas and generally every single court in Central Ohio has unique rules specifically tailored to that Court's needs.  What does all of this mean?  The law hasn't stopped and the courts haven't stopped, but they are operating much differently now than before COVID-19.

It is more important and more helpful now than ever before to have an experienced civil litigator handle the prosecution or defense of your civil case.  The Franklin County Court of Common Pleas has been e-filing for years, but now e-filing may be the only option for the near term while COVID-19 is still a pandemic.  This is no big deal for local civil attorneys, but it makes it very difficult for people trying to do things without a lawyer.  In the Franklin County Municipal Court, no in-person court filings are allowed for the time being.  Again, this is a non-issue for an experienced local attorney, but a game changer for the do-it-yourselfer.

Lawsuits Are Still Being Filed and Still Have To Be Defended

The COVID-19 pandemic initially saw a brief pause in new lawsuits being filed in Columbus from around March through May.  After that, things picked up, or even intensified compared to prior years.  Legal problems did not just go away with the COVID-19 pandemic, but the pandemic has certainly changed how those claims are being litigated.  

In many cases, the economic fallout from COVID-19 caused many people to seek money damages on claims that they may have otherwise sat on for a while.  This means that there are a lot of lawsuits to defend against and a lot of lawsuit where the stakes are high in getting a money judgment against wrongdoers and tortfeasors.  The social distancing philosophy of fighting COVID-19 does not work well in fighting legal claims.  You need a good lawyer to fight your legal battles for you.  The law firm of Harris & Engler has experienced, battle hardened, civil litigation attorneys ready to help you win your case.  If you believe the time has come to get a lawyer, then it is time to get the right lawyer.  You can call an attorney at Harris & Engler by calling (614) 610-9988.  Leave a message with a description of your legal issue and an attorney will call you back as soon as they are available.

Harris & Engler Resumes Business As Usual During COVID-19 Pandemic with Social Distancing Measures In Place

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected us all here in Central Ohio.  Our thoughts are with those who have lost their jobs or are unable to work and to those directly affected by this terrible virus.

Fortunately, the attorneys at Harris & Engler are set up to work at home or in the office.  While there remains a "stay at home" order from Gov. DeWine, the law firm of Harris & Engler is postponing in person meetings and consultations.  Currently the stay at home order is set to expire at midnight on Monday April 6.  In the meantime, the attorneys at Harris & Engler are happy to consult with you over the phone and can carry on all business and legal activities electronically.

How Will the Court Shutdowns Affect My Case?

Currently across Ohio each county and each court within that county have their own individual safety measures in place due to COVID-19.  In general all the courts have for the most part continued all civil, all domestic relations hearings, and all non-essential criminal hearings for a couple months.  Specifically, the courts in central Ohio, as of the date of this article, have ordered as follows:

Franklin County Municipal Court -
  • All criminal, traffic, eviction, and small claims cases are continued until at least May 11, 2020. 
  • Cases involving prisoners, objections to garnishment, and BMV hearings are still going to be heard as scheduled.
Franklin County Court of Common Pleas - 
  • Domestic Relations cases continued until at least April 13
  • Probate Court - filings are to be done via physical dropbox or electronically 
  • General Division - cases are mostly continued through April 10, 2020.
Delaware County Municipal Court - 
  • Jury Trials are suspended until after April 20
  • All cases are continued until past April 20 for the most part unless the case involves an incarcerated individual or protection order
Delaware County Court of Common Pleas
  • The Courthouse has limited public access, but case schedules are assessed and continued on a case-by-case basis.
Things are changing rapidly and court staff and judges are doing the best they can to protect the public and manage their large dockets.  So far in Ohio all the courts are still accepting court filings.  What this all means is that there will be some delays with having an actual hearing in your case.  However, 90% of a lawsuit is done through filings and the filings and ruling on those filings are going to be largely unaffected by the hearing continuances.  It is possible that written motions may even get ruled on quicker than usual because the court staff will not have as many in person hearings.  It is also anticipated that once the courts re-open then there will likely be a backlog of cases that may cause some delays.  If you have a question then please feel free to just call an attorney at Harris & Engler at (614) 610-9988.

Legal Questions for Central Ohio Attorneys

If you have a legal question, a question about how COVID-19 has affected the court system of your case, then please feel free to give an attorney at Harris & Engler a call.  The offices of Harris & Engler are located in Columbus, Ohio, and its attorneys help clients with cases across Central Ohio.  


 

Columbus Business Law Firm

Disclaimer:  Harris & Engler offers this website and the content on it for informational purposes only, as a service for our clients and friends.  The contents of this site are not considered legal advice for any purpose, and you should not consider them as such advice or as legal opinion on any matters. 

With Offices Located at: 30 Northwoods Blvd., Suite 350, Columbus, Ohio 43235
Phone: (614) 610-9988  Email: contactus@harrisengler.com