Plaintiff homeowner sued a contractor for improper work, alleging (among other things) that the contractor is/was licensed.

At trial, plaintiff homeowner’s lawyer demanded that the contractor provide a verified certificate from the California State Contractors License Board confirming proper licensure, despite the allegation of proper licensure in the complaint.

The trial court ruled that the lack of the certificate was fatal to the contractor’s case, so California Business & Professions Code section 7031 required disgorgement of payments received by the contractor.

The appellate court reversed, ruling that plaintiff homeowner’s complaint alleging that the contractor was licensed meant that licensure was not “controverted” (per the statutory language), but had been judicially admitted. (Womack v. Lovell, et al. (2015) 237 Cal. App. 4th 772.)

No doubt, plaintiff’s complaint was boilerplate in certain regards, but boilerplate may be judicial admission. So, be careful what you allege!

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About James J. Manning, Jr.

James J. Manning, Jr. is a Senior Attorney with the Reid & Hellyer law firm in Riverside and Mission Viejo and has been with the firm throughout his career since 1976. He practices media law, civil litigation, construction law and mediation. Jim holds an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbard and has been named as one of the Inland Empire's best lawyers by Inland Empire Magazine for several years.

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