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Construction Defects: 2010 in Review

July 10, 2012 — CDJ Staff

Candace Matson, Harold Hammersmith, and Helen Lauderdale, all of Sheppard Mullin, recently looked at design and construction defect litigation in 2010. They look at three California construction law cases. In one prominent case, the developer’s claims were barred under California law. However, the court did allow a claim for breach of the duty to defend.

In a second case, the California Supreme Court ruled that a duty to defend is separate from a duty to indemnify. A developer sought to include its engineering subcontractor in a suit. The subcontractor unsuccessfully argued that it had no duty to defend as the homeowners had not sued it.

The third case involved a lawyer who had represented a homeowner accused a libel against a construction firm and then later represented one of the subcontractors the firm had employed. The California Court of appeals concluded that there was no conflict of interest and so the contractor could not disqualify the subcontractor’s lawyer.

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Construction Defects: 2010 in Review