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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

    Anaheim California Building Expert 10/ 10

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    Local # 0532
    3891 11th St Ste 312
    Riverside, CA 92501
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    17744 Sky Park Circle Suite 170
    Irvine, CA 92614

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    17744 Skypark Cir Ste 170
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    Local # 0532
    8711 Monroe Ct Ste B
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    Building Expert News and Information
    For Anaheim California

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    Leveraging from more than 4500 construction defect and claims related expert witness designations, the Anaheim, California Building Expert Group provides a wide range of trial support and consulting services to Anaheim's most acknowledged construction practice groups, CGL carriers, builders, owners, and public agencies. Drawing from a diverse pool of construction and design professionals, BHA is able to simultaneously analyze complex claims from the perspective of design, engineering, cost, or standard of care.

    Building Expert News & Info
    Anaheim, California

    Builders Seek to Modify Scaffold Law

    June 28, 2013 —
    New York’s scaffold law dates back to 1885 and requires contractors and building owners to take measures to protect worker from falls through “proper protection.” And although the law is more than 125 years old, Lou Colettie of the Building Trades Employers Association clams that the law “is going to destroy the construction industry.” On the other side, a former director of the NYC Central Labor Council says that builders want to get rid of the law because of “greed.” The New York Daily News notes that when workers using scaffolds or ladders are injured, the contractor must prove the site was safe. According to the claims of the building industry, this would let workers get settlements if their injuries were their own fault, such as working while intoxicated or failing to observe their employer’s safety procedures. A bill is currently working its way through the New York legislature that would make the employee’s actions relevant in an injury lawsuit. There have been past unsuccessful attempts to repeal the law, this year opponents are pushing to just amend it. Read the court decision
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    In Colorado, Primary Insurers are Necessary Parties in Declaratory Judgment Actions

    December 09, 2011 —

    The United States District Court for the District of Colorado recently ruled that primary insurers are necessary parties, under Fed. R. Civ. P. 19, in a declaratory judgment action being pursued by an excess carrier. See Insurance Co. of State of Pennsylvania v. LNC Communities II, LLC, 2011 WL 5548955 (D. Colo. 2011). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 19 is almost identical to Colorado Rule of Civil Procedure 19 and pertains to the joinder of persons needed for “just adjudication.” The Insurance Co. of the State of Pennsylvania (“ICSOP”) sought a declaratory judgment that it did not have a duty to defend or indemnify the defendants (collectively referred to as “Lennar Companies”) with regard to the underlying lawsuit brought by The Falls at Legend Trail Owners Association, Inc. (the “HOA”). Id. at *2. In its lawsuit, the HOA alleged Lennar Companies were liable for construction defects at The Falls at Legend Trail residential development.

    Lennar Companies held two primary insurance policies, one issued by OneBeacon Insurance Company f/k/a General Accident Insurance Company (“General Accident”) and the other issued by American Safety Risk Retention Group, Inc. (“American Safety”). Lennar Companies also carried excess policies issued by ICSOP and Ohio Casualty Insurance Company (“Ohio Casualty”).

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    Reprinted courtesy of Heather M. Anderson of Higgins, Hopkins, McClain & Roswell, LLP. Ms Anderson can be contacted at

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    Court Says No to Additional Lawyer in Las Vegas Fraud Case

    October 14, 2013 —
    Leon Benzer, who has been accused of being one of the masterminds of the Las Vegas HOA scam, has been denied in his bid to add an additional attorney to his publicly-funded defense. Daniel Albregts, Benzer’s court-appointed attorney, made the request due to the large amount of evidence in the case. Federal prosecutors have provided the defense with more than 3.4 million pages of documents. According to U. S. Magistrate Judge George Foley Jr., “defendant’s counsel should be able to prepare and provide an adequate defense with the assistance of appropriate paralegal and other support services.” Mr. Albregts is currently assisted by Russell Aoki, whose role is that of technical consultant on matters regarding electronic distribution. Federal prosecutors opposed Mr. Albregts hiring Franny Forsman, a former federal public defender. Had Ms. Forsman been hired, the government would have paid $110 per hour for her services. The government is seeking $25 million in restitution from Mr. Benzer. Read the court decision
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    Pollution Exclusion Prevents Coverage for Injury Caused by Insulation

    March 30, 2016 —
    In a per curiam decision, the Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's holding that the pollution exclusion barred coverage for bodily injury caused by the insured's insulation. Evanston Ins. Co. v. Lapolla Industries, Inc., 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 22552 (5th Cir. Dec. 23, 2015). The homeowners' contractors installed spray polyurethane foam (SPF) insulation as part of a renovation project in the home. Lapolla manufactured the SPF. Shortly after the insulation was installed, the homeowners smelled strong odors and suffered respiratory distress, causing them to leave the home. The homeowners sued the contractor and various subcontractors for negligence and breach of contract. A third party complaint was filed against Lapolla. The homeowners also amended their complaint to assert a products-liability claim against Lapolla. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Tred R. Eyerly, Insurance Law Hawaii
    Mr. Eyerly may be contacted at

    Tokyo Building Flaws May Open Pandora's Box for Asahi Kasei

    October 28, 2015 —
    Japanese real estate investment trusts are joining apartment owners and regulators in pushing Asahi Kasei Corp. for answers on an apartment building sagging sideways on the outskirts of Tokyo, as concerns are mounting that it may not be an isolated case. REITs including Advance Residence Investment, Nippon Accommodation Fund Inc., Daiwa House Residential Investment Corp. and Japan Rental Housing Investment Inc. have all asked Asahi Kasei for details on what other buildings might be flawed, according to the trusts. Asahi Kasei disclosed on Thursday the names of prefectures where the company has undertaken work in the past 10 years on more than 3,000 buildings, after the land ministry requested the data. The sites include 342 schools, 257 medical and health-care facilities, 696 housing complexes and 217 office buildings, the firm said. Asahi Kasei, the subcontractor of the project, said a unit didn’t properly install foundation piles at an apartment building in Yokohama, and the division falsified data on the work. The scandal has sent Asahi Kasei’s shares down more than 21 percent since Oct. 13, when news of the flawed building first emerged. Shares of Sumitomo Mitsui Construction Co., the contractor, plunged 25 percent and those of Mitsui Fudosan Co., which sold units at the Yokohama project in 2006, have tumbled 5 percent since then. All three companies said that the impact of the incident on their earnings is not yet clear. Reprinted courtesy of Bloomberg reporters Kathleen Chu, Joji Mochida and Katsuyo Kuwako Read the court decision
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    Design and Construction Defects Not a Breach of Contract

    February 14, 2013 —
    The California Court of Appeals tossed out a breach of contract award in Altman v. John Mourier Construction. The decision, which was issued on January 10, 2013, sent the construction defect case back to a lower court to calculate damages based on the conclusions of the appeals court. The case involved both design issues and construction issues. According to the plaintiffs’ expert, the design plans did not make the buildings sufficiently stiff to resist the wind, and that the framing was improperly constructed, further weakening the structures, and leading to the stucco cracking. Additionally, it was alleged that the roofs were improperly installed, leading to water intrusion. The contractor’s expert “agreed the roofs needed repair, but disputed what needed to be done to repair the roofs and the cost.” The jury rejected the plaintiffs’ claims of product liability and breach of warranty, but found in their favor on the claims of breach of contract and negligence. The plaintiffs were awarded differing amounts based on the jury’s conclusions about their particular properties. Both sides sought new trials. JMC, the contractor, claimed that the jury’s verdicts were “inconsistent in that the relieved JMC of liability for strict products liability and breach of warranty, but found JMC liable for breach of contract and negligence.” The plaintiffs “opposed the setoff motion on the ground that the jury heard evidence only of damages not covered by the settlements.” Both motions were denied. After this, the plaintiffs sought and received investigative costs as damages. JMC appealed this amended judgment. The appeals court rejected JMC’s claims that evidence was improperly excluded. JMC sought to introduce evidence concerning errors made by the stucco subcontractor. Earlier in the trial, JMC had insisted that the plaintiffs not be allowed to present evidence concerning the stucco, as that had been separately settled. When they wished to introduce it themselves, they noted that the settlement only precluded the plaintiffs from introducing stucco evidence, but the trial court did not find this persuasive, and the appeals court upheld the actions of the trial court. Nor did the appeals court find grounds for reversal based on claims that the jury saw excluded evidence, as JMC did not establish that the evidence went into the jury room. Further, this did not reach, according to the court, a “miscarriage of justice.” The court rejected two more of JMC’s arguments, concluding that the negligence award did not violate the economic loss rule. The court also noted that JMC failed to prove its contention that the plaintiffs were awarded damages for items that were covered in settlements with the subcontractors. The appeals court did accept JMC’s argument that the award for breach of contract was not supported by evidence. As the ruling notes, “plaintiffs did not submit the contracts into evidence or justify their absence; nor did plaintiffs provide any evidence regarding contract terms allegedly breached.” The court also did not allow the plaintiffs to claim the full amount of the investigative costs. Noting that the trial court had rational grounds for its decision, the appeals court noted that “the jury rejected most of the damages claimed by plaintiffs, and the trial court found that more than $86,000 of the costs itemized in plaintiffs’ invoices ‘appear questionable’ as ‘investigation’ costs/damages and appeared to the trial court to be litigation costs nonrecoverable under section 1033.5.” Read the court decision
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    Homeowners Must Comply with Arbitration over Construction Defects

    January 06, 2012 —

    The California Court of Appeals has upheld a decision by the Superior Court of Kern County that homeowners must comply with arbitration procedures in their construction defect claim. The California Court of Appeals ruled on December 14 in the case of Baeza v. Superior Court of Kern County, denying the plaintiff’s petition that the trial court vacate its order.

    The plaintiffs in the case are homeowners in various developments built by Castle & Cook. The homes were sold with a contract that provided for “nonadversarial prelitigation procedures, including mediation, and judicial reference.” The homeowners made defect claims and argued that Castle & Cooke failed to comply with statutory disclosure requirements and that some of the contracts violate related statutes.

    The appeals court found that there was no ground for appeal of the lower court’s order to continue with prelitigation procedures. The court noted that the plaintiffs could not seek a review of the mediation until a judgment was issued, but that then the issue would be moot. The court felt that there were issues presented that needed clarification, and so they reviewed this case. This was cleared for publication.

    The court considered the intent of the legislature in passing the Right to Repair Act, noting that “under the statutory scheme, the builder has the option of contracting for an alternative nonadversarial prelitigation procedure,” as established in Chapter 4. The court noted that Chapter 4 “contains no specifics regarding what provisions the alternative nonadversarial contractual provisions may or must include.”

    The plaintiffs contended that the builder was in violation of the standards set out in Section 912, however the court responded that these sections set out one set of procedures, but they concluded that “if the Legislature had intended the section 912 disclosure provisions…it could have made the requirements applicable to all builders by locating them in a section outside Chapter 4.”

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    Mendocino Hospital Nearing Completion

    December 04, 2013 —
    The Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital is well underway on its plans to move to a larger facility. The new building in Willits, California, will be more than twice the size of the old building at 74,000 square feet. Construction has reached the halfway point after just over three months of construction. Despite that, plans are to put the facility into use in January 2015. The general contractor for the project is HBE Corporation. Rick Bockmann, HBE’s chief executive officer, said that the hospital was “on schedule and on budget.” Read the court decision
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