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April 2011 Archives

Homeowners Settle Lawsuit over Bomb Field

A Florida developer has agreed to pay $1.2m to a group of Florida homeowners who sued the developer after bombs and munitions were found in a field adjacent to the new development. According to the Orlando Sentinel, the home prices plummented after the bombs and munitions were discovered. The 118 homeowners will receive settlements ranging from $1,000 to $15,000. 

California Right to Repair Act

California has an extensive and detailed set of laws that set forth what standards builders and developers are supposed to meet when building residential structures. The California legislature has also provided for a builder's "right to repair" before any litigation can be commenced regarding defective construction. This act requires that a homeowner, or their attorney, provide information to the builder about the defective condition, and gives the builder an opportunity to investigate and propose a repair before the homeowner can file a legal complaint. There are a number of steps and procedures as part of this process, and the builder also has the option of proposing a cash settlement in lieu of repairs.

New Case Knocks out Developer's Attempt to Mandate Steps to be Taken Before Filing A Construction Defect Lawsuit

A recent California Court of Appeal decision has provided some insight into the ability of Developer's to mandate prelitigation procedures with respect to the right to repair construction defects before filing a lawsuit.  The California legislature enacted the Right To Repair Act in 2002, commonly known as SB 800.  The Act sets forth a series of specific procedures that are required before a homeowner can institute litigation against a residential developer.  The act sets forth a procedure that allows a developer the opportunity to offer repairs  to the homeowner with respect to defective design and construction in an effort to avoid litigation.  The recent case of Anders v. Superior Court (Meritage Homes) involved a situtation whereby the developer included a procedure in the  purchase contract signed by the home buyers that required the homebuyer to go through a number of steps, some different that those set forth by statute, before a lawsuit could be filed.  A nice write up about this case is outlined in the blog of mediator Ron White (http://www.resolvingconstructiondisputes.com/2011/02/articles/litigation-1/a-new-construction-defect-case-to-sink-your-teeth-into/). 

Nevada bill would limit Recovery of Attorney Fees in CD cases

A bill introduced in the Nevada Assembly would change the law in that state with respect to recovery of attorney fees regarding construction defect cases. Nevada is presently very favorable with respect to the award of attorney fees to parties who initiate construction defect actions. The bill recently introduced would limit the recover of attorney fees to the prevailing party. The way the law currently reads, if a homeower prevails on any part of his or her claim, they can recover attorney fees. This is true even if the homeowner did not prevail on the majority of claims. The Assembly member sponsering the bill claims that this would reduce frivolous construction defect cases.

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