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    Illinois Builders Right To Repair Current Law Summary:

    Current Law Summary: HB4873 Pending: The Notice and Opportunity to Repair Act provides that a construction professional shall be liable to a homeowner for damages caused by the acts or omissions of the professional and his or her agents, employees, or subcontractors. This bill requires the service of notice to the professional of the complained-of defect in the construction by the homeowner prior to commencement of a lawsuit. Allows the professional to make an offer of repair or settlement and to rescind this offer if the claimant fails to respond within 30 days.


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    Northern Illinois Home Builders Association Inc
    Local # 1434
    3695 Darlene Ct Ste 102
    Aurora, IL 60504

    Westmont Illinois Building Expert 10/ 10

    Home Builders Association of Greater Fox Valley
    Local # 1431
    PO Box 1146
    Saint Charles, IL 60174

    Westmont Illinois Building Expert 10/ 10

    SouthWest Suburban Home Builders Association
    Local # 1432
    10767 W 163rd Pl
    Orland Park, IL 60467

    Westmont Illinois Building Expert 10/ 10

    Home Builders Association of Greater Chicago
    Local # 1425
    5999 S. New Wilke Rd Ste 104
    Rolling Meadows, IL 60008

    Westmont Illinois Building Expert 10/ 10

    Home Builders Association of the Greater Rockford Area
    Local # 1465
    631 N Longwood St Suite 102
    Rockford, IL 61107

    Westmont Illinois Building Expert 10/ 10

    Home Builders Association of Kankakee
    Local # 1445
    221 S Schuyler Ave Ste B
    Kankakee, IL 60901

    Westmont Illinois Building Expert 10/ 10

    Home Builders Association of Greater Peoria
    Local # 1455
    1599 N Main Street
    East Peoria, IL 61611

    Westmont Illinois Building Expert 10/ 10


    Building Expert News and Information
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    WESTMONT ILLINOIS BUILDING EXPERT
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    The Westmont, Illinois Building Expert Group at BHA, leverages from the experience gained through more than 5,500 construction related expert witness designations encompassing a wide spectrum of construction related disputes. Drawing from this considerable body of experience, BHA provides construction related trial support and expert services to Westmont's most recognized construction litigation practitioners, commercial general liability carriers, owners, construction practice groups, as well as a variety of state and local government agencies.

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    Westmont, Illinois

    Federal Court Again Confirms No Coverage For Construction Defects in Hawaii

    July 28, 2016 —
    The Hawaii federal district court confirmed its prior holdings that there is no duty to defend or indemnify for property damage caused by faulty workmanship. State Farm Fire & Cas Co. v. GP West, Inc., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74240 (D. Haw. Jun 7, 2016). (Full disclosure - our office represents GP West in this matter). GP West, the contractor, and Air Conditioning of Maui, Inc. (AC Maui), the subcontractor, were sued by the owner of a veterinary clinic for installation of an alleged defective HVAC system. GP West contracted with the owner to build the clinic. AC Maui was the HVAC subcontractor and designed, sized and priced a HVAC system for the clinic. The underlying complaint alleged that after the building was substantially complete, the HVAC system experienced multiple equipment defects and mechanical breakdowns, and did not properly dehumidify the building. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Tred R. Eyerly, Insurance Law Hawaii
    Mr. Eyerly may be contacted at te@hawaiilawyer.com

    Why Is California Rebuilding in Fire Country? Because You’re Paying for It

    March 14, 2018 —
    After last year’s calamity, officials are making the same decisions that put homeowners at risk in the first place. At the rugged eastern edge of Sonoma County, where new homes have been creeping into the wilderness for decades, Derek Webb barely managed to save his ranch-style resort from the raging fire that swept through the area last October. He spent all night fighting the flames, using shovels and rakes to push the fire back from his property. He was even ready to dive into his pool and breathe through a garden hose if he had to. His neighbors weren’t so daring—or lucky. On a recent Sunday, Webb wandered through the burnt remains of the ranch next to his. He’s trying to buy the land to build another resort. This doesn’t mean he thinks the area won’t burn again. In fact, he’s sure it will. But he doubts that will deter anyone from rebuilding, least of all him. “Everybody knows that people want to live here,” he says. “Five years from now, you probably won’t even know there was a fire.” As climate change creates warmer, drier conditions, which increase the risk of fire, California has a chance to rethink how it deals with the problem. Instead, after the state’s worst fire season on record, policymakers appear set to make the same decisions that put homeowners at risk in the first place. Driven by the demands of displaced residents, a housing shortage, and a thriving economy, local officials are issuing permits to rebuild without updating building codes. They’re even exempting residents from zoning rules so they can build bigger homes. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Christopher Flavelle, Bloomberg

    HUD Homeownership Push to Heed Lessons From Crisis, Castro Says

    January 14, 2015 —
    Now that regulators have fixed the worst abuses of the 2008 credit crisis, it’s time to start promoting homeownership again, according to the top U.S. housing official. The Department of Housing and Urban Development will do its part, spending this year focusing on ways to help more Americans buy homes, HUD Secretary Julian Castro said today in a Washington speech outlining the agency’s priorities. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Clea Benson, Bloomberg
    Ms. Benson may be contacted at cbenson20@bloomberg.net

    LAX Construction Defect Suit May Run into Statute of Limitations

    December 30, 2013 —
    Current arguments over the claims made by LAX that Runway 25L was built in a defective manner by Tutor-Saliba/O&G Industries are hinging over whether the airport knew the runway was defective less than four years after the construction was completed. The runway was built almost five years ago, and Tutor-Saliba is claiming that Los Angeles World Airports has delayed too long in making a construction defect complaint. Tutor-Saliba is not conceding that the runway is defective, only that if it were, the airport would have known it earlier. Los Angeles World Airports, which operates LAX, is not commenting on the matter, but Robert Span, an aviation attorney at Steinbrecher & Span, told the Daily Breeze that while “there is a four year statute of limitations for dealing with construction defects, but that’s for what they called patent defects,” and that “there’s a 10-year statute of limitations for construction projects where the defect that is alleged is called latent — something that would not be readily apparent.” Tim Pierce, a construction attorney at K&L Gates LLP described it as “a common defense,” though he said it is “raised in most cases and only works in some.” Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of

    Limiting Plaintiffs’ Claims to a Cause of Action for Violation of SB-800

    November 18, 2011 —

    There has been a fair share of publicity about the SB-800 amendments to the Civil Code (Civil Code section 896, et seq.) that codified construction defect litigation in 2002. Most of the publicity is geared toward the pre-litigation standards allowing a builder the right to repair before litigation is commenced by a homeowner. Less focus and attention has been given to the fact that violation of the SB-800 performance standards is being used by plaintiff’s counsel as an additional tool in the plaintiff’s pleading tool box against builders. Closer scrutiny to SB-800 reveals that those provisions should in fact act as a limitation to the pleading tools available to plaintiffs and an additional tool for builders in the defense of cases governed by SB-800.

    The typical construction defect complaint contains the boiler plate versions of numerous causes of action. These causes of action include Strict Liability, Negligence, Negligence Per Se, Breach of Contract, Breach of Contract – Third-Party Beneficiary, Breach of Express Warranties, Breach of Implied Warranties, among others. The wide array of causes of action leave a defendant “pinned to the wall” because they require a complex defense on a multitude of contract and tort related causes of action. Furthermore, the statutes of limitations as to these claims widely differ depending upon if the particular defect is considered latent or patent. The truth of the matter remains, no matter what the circumstances, if a construction defect matter ultimately goes to trial, it is inevitable that plaintiffs will obtain a judgment on at least one of these causes of action.

    On its own, the Strict Liability cause of action can be a thorn in a defendant’s side. A builder is obviously placing a product into the stream of commerce and strict liability is a tough standard to defend against, particularly when it concerns intricate homes comprised of multiple components that originally sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars. A Negligence cause of action can also be difficult to defend because the duty of care for a builder is what a “reasonable” builder would have done under the circumstances. An interpretation of this duty of care can easily sway a jury that will almost always consist of sympathetic homeowners. A Negligence Per Se cause of action can also leave a defendant vulnerable to accusations that a builder violated the Uniform Building Code or a multitude of other obscure municipal construction-related code provisions during the construction of the home. Lastly, the Breach of Contract cause of action leaves a builder relying on dense and intricate purchase and sale agreements with dozens of addenda which leave the skeptical jurors turned off by what they view as one-side, boilerplate provisions. Ultimately, when a matter is about to go to trial, the complexity of these complaints can benefit a plaintiff and increase a plaintiff’s bargaining power against a defendant who is attempting to avoid a potentially large judgment.

    Enter the SB-800 statutes. The SB-800 statutes apply to all homes sold after January 1, 2003. Civil Code section 938 specifically states that “[t]his title applies only to new residential units where the purchase agreements with the buyer was signed by the seller on or after January 1, 2003.” (Civil Code §, 938.) As time progresses, more residential construction defect cases will exclusively fall under the purview of SB-800. Slowly but surely more SB-800 governed litigation is being filed, and its exclusive application is looming on the horizon.

    On its surface, this “right to repair” regime has left builders with a lot to be desired despite the fact that it is supposed to allow the builder the opportunity to cure any deficiencies in their product before litigation can be filed by potential plaintiffs. However, the application of the time line for repair has shown to be impractical for anything but the most minor problems involving only small numbers of residential units. Moreover, the fact that the fruits of the builder’s investigation into the claimed defects in the pre-litigation context can freely be used as evidence against it in litigation makes builders proceed with trepidation in responding with a repair. For these reasons, more SB-800 litigation can be expected to result due to the shortcomings of the pre-litigation procedures, and savvy defense counsel should anticipate the issues to be dealt with in presenting the defense of such cases at trial.

    This fact should not necessarily be met with fear or disdain. Within the SB-800 statutes, the legislature made it clear that they were creating a new cause of action for construction defect claims, but it further made it clear that this cause of action is a plaintiff’s exclusive remedy. The legislature giveth, but at the same time, the legislature taketh away. Throughout numerous provisions within the SB-800 statutes, the Civil Code states that claims for construction defects as to residential construction are exclusively governed by the Civil Code, and that the Civil Code governs any and all litigation arising under breaches of these provisions. Civil Code section 896 specifically states:

    In any action seeking recovery of damages arising out of, or related to deficiencies in, the residential construction … the claimant’s claims or causes of action shall be limited to violation of, the following standards, except as specifically set forth in this title. (Civil Code §, 896.)

    Civil Code section 896 then provides approximately fifty-plus standards by which a construction defect claim is assessed under that provision. Civil Code section 896 covers everything from plumbing to windows, and from foundations to decks, and in several instances expressly dictates statutes of limitations as to specific areas of construction that severely truncate the 10-year latent damage limitations period. As for any construction deficiencies that are not enumerated within Civil Code section 896, Civil Code section 897 explicitly defines the intent of the standards and provides a method to assess deficiencies that are not addressed in Civil Code section 896. Civil Code section 897 states:

    Intent of Standards

    The standards set forth in this chapter are intended to address every function or component of a structure. To the extent that a function or component of a structure is not addressed by these standards, it shall be actionable if it causes damage. (Civil Code §, 897.)

    Therefore, Civil Code section 897 acts as a catch-all by which defects that are not covered within Civil Code section 896 can be evaluated on a damage standard mirroring the Aas case (damages must be present and actual). The result of sections 896 and 897 being read in combination is a comprehensive, all-inclusive set of performance standards by which any defect raised by Plaintiffs can be evaluated and resolved under a single SB-800 based cause of action.

    Civil Code section 943 makes clear that a cause of action for violation of SB-800 performance standards is a plaintiff’s sole remedy for a residential construction defect action. Specifically, Civil Code section 943 states:

    Except as provided in this title, no other cause of action for a claim covered by this title or for damages recoverable under 944 is allowed. In addition to the rights under this title, this title does not apply to any action by a claimant to enforce a contract or express contractual provision, or any action for fraud, personal injury, or violation of a statute. (Civil Code §, 943.)

    Civil Code section 944 provides the method for computing damages within a construction defect action, as follows:

    If a claim for damages is made under this title, the homeowner is only entitled to damages for the reasonable value of repairing any violation of the standards set forth in this title, [and] the reasonable cost of repairing any damages caused by the repair efforts… . (Civil Code §, 944.)

    A cursory review of these statutes yields the conclusion that the legislature was attempting to create an exclusive cause of action that trumps all other causes of action where SB-800 applies. The remedy available to plaintiffs is limited to that allowed by the Civil Code. As noted above, “[n]o other cause of action for a claim covered by this title…is allowed.” (Civil Code §, 943.) Therefore, Civil Code sections 896, 897, 943, and 944 specifically prohibit the contract-based and tort-based causes of action typically pled by plaintiffs.

    Plaintiff’s counsel has seized upon the language of section 943 to advance the argument that SB-800 still allows a plaintiff to advance typical contract and tort based causes of action. On the surface, this argument may seem compelling, but a minimum of scrutiny of the express language of section 943 dispels this notion. Section 943 says that it provides rights “[i]n addition” to those under the SB-800 Civil Code provisions. Clearly, the language in section 943 is intended to expressly underscore the fact that a plaintiff is not precluded from seeking relief in addition to that allowed under SB-800 for damages not arising from a breach of the SB-800 standards or for damages in addition to those recoverable under Section 944. This language does not provide an unfettered license to bring a Strict Liability, Negligence or other cause of action against a builder where SB-800 applies.

    In fact, this language only keeps the door open for plaintiffs to pursue such causes of action not arising from a breach of the SB-800 standards should there be such supporting allegations. For example, if a plaintiff alleges that a builder breached an “express contractual provision” related to the timing of the completion of the home and close of escrow, and the contract specifies damages in this regard, a plaintiff may have a viable separate cause of action for Breach of Contract for recovery of those damages precisely because that is not an issue expressly dealt with in SB-800 in the performance standards under sections 896 and 897, or in the damage recovery terms under 944. As it stands, the vast majority of complaints are seeking redress for violation of the same primary right; that is, defects specifically outlined in Section 896 and 897 or which result in damages as stated in Section 944.

    So, how does a builder defend against a complaint that contains multiple causes of action regarding construction defects for a home sold after January 1, 2003? There are numerous ways to approach this. First and foremost, these superfluous and improper causes of action can be attacked by demurrer seeking dismissal of all causes of action other than the cause of action alleging violation of SB-800. If the the time period within which to file a demurrer has passed already, a motion for judgment on the pleadings can be utilized to attack the improper causes of action in the same way as a demurrer can be used for this purpose.

    The limitation to a demurrer or motion for judgment on the pleadings is that the judge is restricted to viewing only the four corners of the pleading when making a ruling. It is typical for plaintiffs’ counsel to cleverly (or one might even say, disingenuously) leave the complaint purposely vague to avoid a successful defense attack on the pleadings by not including the original date the residence was sold. In that instance, a motion for summary adjudication can be used to attack a plaintiff’s complaint. By simply providing evidence that the homes were originally sold after January 1, 2003, the improper causes of action should be subject to dismissal by summary adjudication. If the plaintiff is a subsequent purchaser, the builder still has recourse to enforce the pleading limitations under SB-800. Civil Code section 945 states that “[t]he provisions, standards, rights, and obligations set forth in this title are binding upon all original purchasers and their successors-in-interest.” (Civil Code §, 945.)

    Attacking a plaintiff’s complaint to eliminate multiple causes of action can have numerous benefits. The practical result is that a plaintiff will only have one viable cause of action. The advantage is that the SB-800 performance standards include the defined performance standards and shortened statutes of limitations periods with regard to specific issues. Furthermore, as to defects which are not specifically provided for in Civil Code section 896, Civil Code section 897 requires a proof of actual damages. Therefore, a plaintiff must provide evidence of current damages and not simply conditions that may potentially cause damage in the future.

    The Appellate Courts have yet to directly address and interpret these SB-800 provisions. The time for that is undoubtedly drawing near. For now, however, plaintiffs will have to find ways to accurately plead construction defect claims within the confines of one cause of action for breach of the performance standards enumerated within the Civil Code.

    Printed courtesy of Lorber, Greenfield & Polito, LLP. Mr. Patel can be contacted at spatel@lorberlaw.com and Mr. Verbick at tverbick@lorberlaw.com.

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    Association Insurance Company v. Carbondale Glen Lot E-8, LLC: Federal Court Reaffirms That There Is No Duty to Defend or Indemnify A Builder For Defective Construction Work

    December 20, 2017 —
    In a case that squarely confronts the juxtaposition of an insurer’s duty to defend or indemnify its insured for construction related defects, the United States District Court for the District of Colorado recently granted an insurer’s motion for summary judgment on both matters against a construction subrogee, in Ass’n Ins. Co. v. Carbondale Glen Lot E-8, LLC, No. 15-cv-02025-RPM, 2016 WL 9735743, at *1 (D. Colo. Oct. 10. 2017). Mountainview Construction Services, LLC (“MCS”) served as the general contractor for the construction of a residence on a lot owned by Glen Lot E-8, LLC (“E-8”). MCS took out a Commercial General Liability Policy (“Policy”) with Association Insurance Company (“AIC”) that provided coverage to MCS for the relevant time period for the construction of the residence. E-8 then asserted a series of claims against MCS, based on the allegation that MCS and its subcontractors defectively constructed the home by, among other things, building the residence two feet too high in violation of applicable codes. E-8 also argued that MCS and its subcontractors made significant alterations and/or deviations from the original project specifications without obtaining E-8’s consent or approval from relevant authorities. MCS tendered the claim to AIC for defense and indemnity. In turn, AIC declined coverage on the argument that the Policy precluded any coverage for defective work MCS may have performed on the project, absent damage to person or other property. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of David M McLain, Higgins, Hopkins, McLain & Roswell, LLC
    Mr. McLain may be contacted at mclain@hhmrlaw.com

    THE CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT HAS RULED THAT THE RIGHT TO REPAIR ACT (SB800) IS THE EXCLUSIVE REMEDY FOR CONSTRUCTION DEFECT CLAIMS NOT INVOLVING PERSONAL INJURIES WHETHER OR NOT THE UNDERLYING DEFECTS GAVE RISE TO ANY PROPERTY DAMAGE in McMillin Albany LL

    January 24, 2018 —
    RICHARD H. GLUCKSMAN, ESQ. GLENN T. BARGER, ESQ. JON A. TURIGLIATTO, ESQ. DAVID A. NAPPER, ESQ. The Construction Industry finally has its answer. The California Supreme Court ruled that the Right to Repair Act (SB800) is the exclusive remedy for construction defect claims alleged to have resulted from economic loss, property damage, or both. Our office has closely tracked the matter since its infancy. The California Supreme Court’s holding resolves the split of authority presented by the Fifth Appellate District’s holding in McMillin Albany LLC v. Superior Court (2015) 239 Cal.App.4th 1132, which outright rejected the Fourth Appellate District’s holding in Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. v. Brookfield Crystal Cove LLC (2013) 219 Cal.App.4th 98. By way of background, the Fourth District Court of Appeal held inLiberty Mutual that compliance with SB800’s pre-litigation procedures prior to initiating litigation is only required for defect claims involving violations of SB800’s building standards that have not yet resulted in actual property damage. Where damage has occurred, a homeowner may initiate litigation under common law causes of action without first complying with the pre-litigation procedures set forth in SB800. Two years later, the Fifth District Court of Appeal, in McMillin Albany, held that the California Legislature intended that all claims arising out of defects in new residential construction sold on or after January 1, 2003 are subject to the standards and requirements of the Right to Repair Act, including specifically the requirement that notice be provided to the builder prior to filing a lawsuit. Thus, the Court of Appeal ruled that SB800 is the exclusive remedy for all defect claims arising out of new residential construction sold on or after January 1, 2003. After extensive examination of the text and legislative history of the Right to Repair Act, the Supreme Court affirmed the Fifth District Court of Appeal’s ruling that SB800 preempts common law claims for property damage. The Complaint at issue alleged construction defects causing both property damage and economic loss. After filing the operative Complaint, the homeowners dismissed the SB800 cause of action and took the position that the Right to Repair Act was adopted to provide a remedy for construction defects causing only economic loss and therefore SB800 did not alter preexisting common law remedies in cases where actual property damage or personal injuries resulted. The builder maintained that SB800 and its pre-litigation procedures still applied in this case where actually property damages were alleged to have occurred. The Supreme Court found that the text and legislative history reflect a clear and unequivocal intent to supplant common law negligence and strict product liability actions with a statutory claim under the Right to Repair Act. Specifically the text reveals “…an intent to create not merely a remedy for construction defects but the remedy.” Additionally certain clauses set forth in SB800 “…evinces a clear intent to displace, in whole or in part, existing remedies for construction defects.” Not surprisingly, the Court confirmed that personal injury damages are expressly not recoverable under SB800, which actually assisted the Court in analyzing the intent of the statutory scheme. The Right to Repair Act provides that construction defect claims not involving personal injury will be treated the same procedurally going forward whether or not the underlying defects gave rise to any property damage. The Supreme Court further found that the legislative history of SB800 confirms that displacement of parts of the existing remedial scheme was “…no accident, but rather a considered choice to reform construction defect litigation.” Further emphasizing how the legislative history confirms what the statutory text reflects, the Supreme Court offered the following summary: “the Act was designed as a broad reform package that would substantially change existing law by displacing some common law claims and substituting in their stead a statutory cause of action with a mandatory pre-litigation process.” As a result, the Supreme Court ordered that the builder is entitled to a stay and the homeowners are required to comply with the pre-litigation procedures set forth in the Right to Repair Act before their lawsuit may proceed. The seminal ruling by the California Supreme Court shows great deference to California Legislature and the “major stakeholders on all sides of construction defect litigation” who participated in developing SB800. A significant win for builders across the Golden State, homeowners unequivocally must proceed via SB800 for all construction defect claims arising out of new residential construction sold on or after January 1, 2003. We invite you to contact us should you have any questions. Reprinted courtesy of Chapman Glucksman Dean Roeb & Barger attorneys Richard Glucksman, Glenn Barger, Jon Turigliatto and David Napper Mr. Glucksman may be contacted at rglucksman@cgdrblaw.com Mr. Barger may be contacted at gbarger@cgdrblaw.com Mr. Turgliatto may be contacted at jturigliatto@cgdrblaw.com Mr. Napper may be contacted at dnapper@cgdrblaw.com Read the court decision
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    House Bill Clarifies Start Point for Florida’s Statute of Repose

    September 14, 2017 —
    The Florida legislature recently enacted a law clarifying when the ten-year statute of repose begins to run for cases involving “improvements to real property,” as that phrase is used in Florida Statute Section 95.11. House Bill 377 was signed into law on June 14, 2017 and took effect in all cases accruing on or after July 1, 2017. This amendment is significant to subrogation professionals evaluating when cases involving contractors and design professionals are time barred. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Lian Skaf, White and Williams LLP
    Mr. Skaf may be contacted at skafl@whiteandwilliams.com