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    California Builders Right To Repair Current Law Summary:

    Current Law Summary: SB800 (codified as Civil Code §§895, et seq) is the most far-reaching, complex law regulating construction defect litigation, right to repair, warranty obligations and maintenance requirements transference in the country. In essence, to afford protection against frivolous lawsuits, builders shall do all the following:A homeowner is obligated to follow all reasonable maintenance obligations and schedules communicated in writing to the homeowner by the builder and product manufacturers, as well as commonly accepted maintenance practices. A failure by a homeowner to follow these obligations, schedules, and practices may subject the homeowner to the affirmative defenses.A builder, under the principles of comparative fault pertaining to affirmative defenses, may be excused, in whole or in part, from any obligation, damage, loss, or liability if the builder can demonstrate any of the following affirmative defenses in response to a claimed violation:

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    Building Industry Association Southern California - Desert Chapter
    Local # 0532
    77570 Springfield Ln Ste E
    Palm Desert, CA 92211

    Building Industry Association Southern California - Riverside County Chapter
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    3891 11th St Ste 312
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    Building Industry Association Southern California
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    17744 Sky Park Circle Suite 170
    Irvine, CA 92614

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    Construction Expert Witness News and Information
    For Anaheim California

    Unit Owners Have No Standing to Sue under Condominium Association’s Policy

    Dust Infiltration Due to Construction Defect Excluded from Policy

    Appropriation Bill Cuts Military Construction Spending

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    Colorado Statutes of Limitations and Repose, A First Step in Construction Defect Litigation

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    DA’s Office Checking Workers Comp Compliance

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    Defense for Additional Insured Not Barred By Sole Negligence Provision

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    Counterpoint: Washington Supreme Court to Rule on Resulting Losses in Insurance Disputes
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    With over four thousand construction defect and claims related expert witness designations, the Anaheim, California Construction Expert Directory provides a single point of reference for construction defect and claims related support to legal professionals and construction practice groups seeking effective resolution of construction defect and claims litigation. BHA provides building claims investigation and expert services to the industry's leading construction attorneys, Fortune 500 builders, insurers, owners, as well as a variety of public entities. Utilizing captive assets which comprise construction cost and scheduling experts, registered design professionals, forensic engineers, certified professional estimators, the firm brings regional experience and flexible capabilities to the Anaheim construction industry.

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    Construction Expert Witness News & Info
    Anaheim, California

    Court Requires Adherence to “Good Faith and Fair Dealing” in Construction Defect Coverage

    September 30, 2011 — CDJ Staff

    The California Court of Appeals has ruled in the case of Allied Framers, Inc. v. Golden Bear Insurance Company. Allied had been sued in a construction defect case and its primary insurer had become insolvent. Coverage for Allied’s defense was paid for by the California Insurance Guarantee Association through June 8, 2006. When warned that CIGA’s involvement was ending, Allied notified Golden Bear, which declined to provide coverage.

    In the matters that followed, Golden Bear claimed that Allied had not exhausted its $1 million in primary insurance. Allied then showed that $1 million had already been paid out in the case. A few months thereafter, Golden Bear offered a $500,000 settlement on behalf of Allied which was rejected. Thereafter, Golden Bear hired new counsel to defend Allied. Golden Bear received, but allegedly did not pay, invoices Allied sent from their former counsel. Golden Bear finally settled the construction defect case for $2 million.

    Allied’s original counsel sued Allied for payment. Golden Bear declined coverage. Allied then claimed that Golden Bear liable on several counts, arising from its failure to settle the construction defect action earlier than it did and its failure to pay Allied’s counsel. Golden Bear demurred, arguing that Allied had now exhausted is coverage with the $2 million settlement. The lower court sustained Golden Bear’s demurrer, dismissing Allied’s complaints.

    The appeal court reviewed Allied’s seven complaints and sustained most of them. However, the court did reverse the trial court’s order in regard to Allied’s complaint that Golden Bear breached an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. The appeals court was not convinced that Golden Bear properly evaluated the settlement demand in the underlying construction defect case. The court found three other ways in which Golden Bear’s actions might show bad faith, in refusing to pay defense fees “after promising [Allied] such costs would be paid in full,” “failing to advise Allied about ‘actual or potential negative consequences of agreeing to the proposed settlement,’” and that their choice of counsel “failed to protect [Allied’s] interests in the negotiation.”

    Read the court’s decision…

    Nevada Budget Remains at Impasse over Construction Defect Law

    June 1, 2011 — CDJ Staff

    Negotiations for the Nevada state budget have stalled over proposals to amend the state’s construction defect laws. Assembly Republicans had offered changes to the law to make it friendlier to contractors; however, after a state Supreme Court ruling that the state could not move a local government entity’s funds into state coffers, pressure has increased on the governor to lift the expiration dates of taxes approved in 2009.

    The Reno Gazette-Journal quotes John Madole, a construction industry lobbyist, “We agree with them that you have to address the issue of the attorney fees, and for all practical purposes, they are automatically awarded when anybody brings any kind of suit.”

    Speaker of the Assembly, John Oceguera, a Democrat, has proposed a bill that “makes it absolutely crystal clear that the only time you get attorney's fees is if you're the prevailing party.”

    Read the full story…

    Flooded Courtroom May be Due to Construction Defect

    September 1, 2011 — CDJ Staff

    The General Services Administration wouldn’t pin it on a construction defect, but a spokesperson said that a pipe that was misaligned during installation was the likely cause of a flood in the Thomas F. Eagleton US Courthouse on August 23. According to the St. Louis Dispatch, the burst pipe caused a 17-story waterfall in the courthouse, soaking ceilings and floors, and drenching the building’s contents.

    The building was dedicated eleven years ago. During the nearly ten years before the building was complete, there were construction disputes and soil contamination issues.

    Read the full story…

    DA’s Office Checking Workers Comp Compliance

    February 10, 2012 — CDJ Staff

    The San Bernardino office of the California District Attorney is partnering with the California Contractor’s State License Board to check if subcontractors are holding the required workers compensation insurance. The High Desert Daily Press reports that the process of checking at sites has been going on for several months.

    Investigators visit sites and ask supervisors to provide a list of subcontractors which the state then checks for compliance. One worker was quoted that insurance inspections were so rare that he had never seen one before, despite 20 years in construction.

    On one day, investigators in two teams visited fourteen construction sites and reviewed the insurance status of twenty-two firms. Three were found out of compliance and stop work orders were issued.

    Read the full story…

    Lawsuit over Construction Defects Not a Federal Case

    August 16, 2012 — CDJ Staff

    The United State District Court in California has dismissed the claims of a contractor against the United States government, on the grounds that it was not within the subject matter jurisdiction of the court. The origins of the case are in a related construction defect claim. The current plaintiff, Performance Contracting, Inc., did the lath and plaster work for a building for the Department of Veterans Affairs. After the building was completed, the Veterans Affairs complained to the general contractor, Wynema, Inc., of water intrusion problems.

    Wyema and Performance conducted testing and the water intrusion was found to be due to “a variety of design defects and omissions, including: 1) omission of proper window flashing; 2) inadequate waterproof membrane around the windows; 3) inadequate T-molding around the windows; 4) lack of a window sill pan for the windows; 5) lack of any backing in the window framing; 6) lack of any backing for the stucco expansion joints and seams; and 7) failure to require that a performance mock-up of the window assembly and adjacent areas be built and water tested.” Wyema filed a construction defect action against Performance and other subcontractors.

    In the current case, Performance claims that Veteran Affairs was negligent, that it “breached its duty to Plaintiff when it provided deficient plants and specifications” and “failed to properly oversee construction and inspect Project work.” The court determined that it could not hear this case, noting that “Federal Courts are presumptively without jurisdiction over civil actions.”

    Performance raised its claims under the Federal Tort Claims Act. The judge was not persuaded by this claim, noting that the FTCA does not apply to purported breach of the General Contract. The FTCA waives the government’s sovereign immunity in cases of “injury or loss of property, or personal injury or death caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of an employee of the Government while acting within the scope of his office or employment, under circumstances where the United States, if a private person, would be liable to the claimant in accordance with the law of the place where the act or omission occurred.”

    Performance was unable to pursue its claims in the Court of Federal Claims as there was no contract between Performance and the government. However, the court noted that Performance’s inability to file suit in the Court of Federal Claims does not open up a path to the District Court. “Litigants are not guaranteed a forum in which to sue the United States.” The court further noted that “if this Court were to accept Plaintiff’s logic, non-parties to contracts, but not parties, would be free to pursue contract claims in the fora of their choosing.”

    Read the court’s decision…

    California Lawyer Gives How-To on Pursuing a Construction Defect Claim

    September 13, 2012 — CDJ Staff

    On his recently started blog, Harry Kaladjian writes about construction defect litigation in California. He notes that after taking possession, homeowners sometimes notices problems such as “slab cracks in the garage, water leaking through the ceiling, warped floors, improper framing, cracking stucco, etc.” He goes on to note that once that happens, there are series of things homeowners must do.

    The first is to be concerned about the statute of limitations. Then, “once it has been established that defects exist, the homeowner must refer to the ‘Right to Repair Act’ and ‘Calderon Procedures.’” These, he notes set out the “pre-litigation procedures prior to filing a lawsuit.”

    Read the full story…

    Was Jury Right in Negligent Construction Case?

    September 30, 2011 — CDJ Staff

    Yes, said the South Carolina Court of Appeals in Pope v. Heritage Communities, Inc. Heritage Communities developed Riverwalk, a community in South Carolina. During the earlier trial, HCI “conceded that construction defects existed at Riverwalk, and repairs needed to be made.” The trial court found that the construction was negligent, awarding the property owners association $4.25 million in actual damages and $250,000 in punitive damages, with the class of owners awarded $250,000 in actual damages and $750,000 in punitive damages. HCI appealed on nine issues. All were rejected by the appeals court.

    The court rejected HCI’s claim that the judge’s instruction to the jury suggested to the jury that “the court had already determined that Appellants were willful, wanton, and reckless.” But here, the appeals court found “no reversible error.”

    The general contractor for Riverwalk was BuildStar. Off-site management and sale were managed by Heritage Riverwalk, Inc., which also owned title to the property. Both these companies were owned by Heritage Communities, Inc. During the trial, an HCI employee testified that “the three corporations shared the same officers, directors, office, and telephone number.” The trial court found that the three entities were amalgamated. This was upheld by the appeals court.

    Nor did the appeals agree with the HCI that the trial court had improperly certified a class. The owners were seen as properly constituting a class. Further, the court held that the property owners’ losses were properly included by the trial court. HCI objected at trial to the inclusion of evidence of subsequent remedial measures, however, as they did not object that it was inadmissible, the issue could not be addressed at appeal.

    HCI argued on appeal that the trial court should not have allowed evidence of defects at other HCI developments. The appeals court noted that “the construction defects at the other HCI developments were substantially similar to those experienced by Riverwalk.”

    The court additionally found that the negligence claims, the estimated damages (since full damage could not be determined until all defective wood was removed), and the award of punitive damages were all properly applied.

    Read the court’s decision…

    Hilton Grand Vacations Defect Trial Delayed

    October 23, 2012 — CDJ Staff

    A settlement agreement between Conti Electric and Westgate Resorts has lead to a delay in starting the trial over construction defect claims and billing disputes over Hilton Grand Vacations a time share tower in Las Vegas. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the dispute includes claims of $23.3 million owed to the general contractor against which the developer has placed $30 million in construction defect claims.

    Read the full story…