People v. Walker

Criminal Court Orders Unlicensed Contractor to Return All Amounts Paid to Him


In People v. Walker, an Appellate Division of the Los Angeles County Superior Court held that a homeowner victimized by an unlicensed contractor was entitled to a refund of the full amount of monies paid to him, even if the work was beneficial to her.  In Walker, a homeowner hired Walker to perform services at her home.  Walker was not licensed.  The homeowner paid Walker over $61,000, but refused to pay an additional $7,768.  Walker sued her for the outstanding amounts.  The homeowner hired an attorney to defend her and filed a criminal complaint based on contracting without a license.  Walker pleaded no contest.  The district attorney requested a court order that Walker pay as restitution to the homeowner the entire $61,000 she paid to him, plus interest, and her attorney’s fees incurred in defending the civil complaint.  The trial court denied the request on the ground that the homeowner benefitted from his work.  The appellate division reversed, holding that the homeowner was entitled to restitution for the entire amount of the monies paid to Walker plus her attorney’s fees.


-Shannon B. Jones, Partner,