Construction defects are more common than people think. There are times where they are found immediately and then there are times where they are found years after the construction has been completed. Some are very noticeable, while others are difficult to spot. Either way, construction defects are a problem. Today, we will take a look at legal liability in construction defects.
A homeowners association and the city of San Clemente have initiated two lawsuits against the Transportation Corridor Agency (TCA) in an attempt to halt the creation of a toll road that would cut through the center of the town. In response to the litigation, at a board meeting held on Aug. 10, the TCA voted to defend against the litigation -- stating that it has the right to move forward with the project.
Earlier this week, the California Supreme Court handed down a decision in a closely watched case examining whether landowners who oppose building permit conditions but proceed with their project can later challenge these conditions in court.
In our last post, we began discussing how building outfits that provide requested services and suppliers that fill material orders have the option of filing a mechanics lien when the general contractor overseeing a particular project fails to remit payment.
As we discussed in our last post, the construction industry here in Southern California has recently seen something of a renaissance with the number of new multi-family dwellings and single-family dwellings climbing steadily throughout the region's five counties.
In the late 1990's and early 2000's, California, like many other states, enacted a number of laws intended to provide homeowners with the legal right to recover damages for construction defects in new houses. One of the unanticipated consequences of the new law is its effect on home builders after the collapse of the housing market in 2008. Construction defect litigation is now haunting some home builders with the prospect of bankruptcy.
Sometimes, the line between criminal negligence and civil negligence can be very fine. Most people in California are aware of the balcony collapse in Berkeley. In 2015, six students from Ireland were killed, and some have wondered if the mishap involved criminal negligence.
Many cities in California are having difficulty providing a sufficient quantity of low income housing. To solve the problem, San Jose and many other cities in the state passed ordinances that require housing developers to include a minimum number of below-market units in new projects within the city limits. In a ruling that may have implications for construction law across the entire state, including Orange County, the United States Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from a decision of the state supreme court that upheld the constitutional validity of the San Jose ordinance.
When people see or hear about a serious fire, the most common first question is "How did it start?" Surprisingly, many construction litigation cases ask a different question. In a recently filed lawsuit arising out of a large apartment building fire that occurred in December 2014, the central question is not the fire's origin but "How did the fire spread so rapidly?" The lawsuit was filed by the city of Los Angeles against the developer of the project, and the complaint alleges that the developer was negligent in ways that allowed the fire to spread rapidly.
Lawsuits that arise out of mishaps on a construction site can be extremely complicated cases. This is because several parties may share blame for the accident. For example, if a wall collapses, the general contractor may have given faulty instructions; the engineers may have used a faulty design; the concrete subcontractor may have used the wrong type of cement; or a co-worker may have made a mistake. In fact, the list could grow to include many parties. How does the law sort out liability in a complex construction dispute if more than one party may be at fault?