Recent California Lawsuits Examples of Common Construction Disputes

With its sweeping views, beautiful weather and rich variety of economic activity, California is one of the most ideal states in the nation for developers looking to take advantage of a profitable business opportunity. Yet, the construction industry is rife with potential pitfalls.

In a pair of recent California construction lawsuits, condo residents in two Millbrae complexes sued developers over serious alleged building defects. Prices for a single condominium ranged from $599,000 to $1.28 million. The problems reportedly uncovered by owners ranged from mold inside the walls to water damage and cracking.

Construction Defect Lawsuit Can Be Complex, but Are Often Solved Outside of Court

California has building codes regulating anything built in the state. While city inspectors signed off on both projects involved in the recent lawsuits, building inspectors and the cities they represent are immune from liability arising from construction defects. Thus, the owners were left with one option: sue the developers.

In California, developers are strictly liable for construction defects. This means aggrieved owners can always seek a remedy from developers. But, the developers may be owed indemnity from subcontractors to help pay the costs of repair, adding an extra layer of complexity to construction defect lawsuits.

Usually, all parties involved in construction defect disputes benefit when the matter can be settled outside of court. Negotiation, mediation and arbitration may present opportunities to come to creative solutions. In one of the recent Millbrae lawsuits, both sides were able to come to a $3.5 million settlement. The other dispute is in the midst of mediation. Of course, if middle ground cannot be reached in such cases, litigation may become the best strategy.

Construction Complaints Must Be Raised Within a Certain Time Frame

Under California law, owners and their associations have a limited amount of time to bring legal action about certain alleged defects. For instance, irrigation problems, trouble with manufactured products and fit and finish warranty concerns must be brought up within a year. Decay of untreated wood posts and problems with dryer ducts are subject to a two-year limit, while plumbing and sewer defects, electrical problems and corrosion of steel fences must be brought up within four years. The following are all examples of issues that can be the subject of legal action for a full 10 years:

  • Air conditioning in living spaces
  • Balconies and decks
  • Doors
  • Foundation systems and slabs
  • Fire protection
  • Heating
  • Roofing materials

Talk to a California Construction Litigation Lawyer

For owners associations and developers, sound legal advice is essential in resolving any construction dispute. An experienced California construction litigation attorney can help develop creative and ethical solutions in your construction lawsuit. To learn more, contact a construction litigation attorney today.