Albert J. Reed, et al. v. Davidson, et al – $3.5M

Construction Defects

Case Summary:

This was an action for damages arising out of the defective construction of 42 homes in Del Mar, California. The homes were individually owned and the issues involved related to the separate interests of the homeowners. Intially the plaintiffs complained that the windows were defectively installed and manufactured. Additionally, the developer and general contractor defectively constructed the retaining walls, the roofs did not conform to industry standards or manufacturers recommendations, exterior garden walls were defectively constructed, hot water plumbing lines were corroding beneath the slabs as evidenced by several pipe ruptures and other miscellaneous defects involving the doors delaminating, attics, floors uneven and squeaking. The case settled for $3,493,600.00. This case resulted in an Outstanding Trial Lawyer Award for Mr. McGuire.

Plaintiff’s Technical Expert Witnesses: Stan Livingston, Architectural

Defendant’s Technical Expert Witnesses:
Stan Espenship, Windows Michael J. Miller, Geotechnical Valentine Hoy, Cost Estimating Melvin Schiff, Corrosion Engineer

Date, Time and Place of Incident(s):
Window problems manifested themselves shortly after development of the project. Numerous repairs were attempted. Damages to the windows continued until the date of the settlement.

Facts and Background:

This was an action for damages arising out of the defective construction of 42 homes in Del Mar, California. The homes were individually owned and the issues involved related to the separate interests of the homeowners The project was developed by Home Capital Corporation. The general contractor was The W.A. Davidson Company; the architect was Lorimer-Case; and the window manufacturer was Bacon Door and Sash.There are 98 homes in the project. Construction began in 1984 and was completed in four phases. The first home was completed on May 29, 1984 and the last on October 7, 1985.Damage to the windows at the project was repaired by the defendants on numerous occasions. On each occasion, plaintiffs reasonably believed the repair was complete and total and, if not, that defendants would return to make repairs.The Complaints alleged causes of action based on negligence, strict liability, nuisance and breach of warranty. Damages sought included costs of repair, past and future out of pocket costs, loss of use and enjoyment, and post-repair stigma loss in market value.

Plaintiff’s Contentions, Allegations:
That the windows were defectively installed and manufactured. Additionally, the developer and general contractor defectively constructed the retaining walls, the roofs did not conform to industry standards or manufacturers recommendations, exterior garden walls were defectively constructed, hot water plumbing lines were corroding beneath the slabs as evidenced by several pipe ruptures and other miscellaneous defects involving the doors delaminating, attics, floors uneven and squeaking. As a result of the defects set forth above, and especially the windows and plumbing, plaintiffs were entitled to damages for cost of repair, out of pocket expenses, loss of use an enjoyment, and stigma diminution in value.

The trial court held, after a three week bench trial, that the City was liable for inverse condemnation because it unreasonably created and operated a storm water drainage system which utilized the Canyon as an integral part, and that the failure of the City to act in a reasonable manner was a substantial factor in causing damage to the Canyon, creating the need for emergency and permanent repairs to the Canyon.

Defense:
Defendants essentially agreed with the plaintiffs scope and method to repair the windows at the project. Defendants claimed weep holes through the base of the wall would solve any drainage problems caused by the developer not installing a complete drainage system behind the retaining walls in accordance with approved set of plans.

Notes:
Plaintiffs initially sought to have case certified as class action. This was denied by the court. Subsequent repairs by the developer and general contractor tolled any claims based on the three year statute of limitations.

Settlement Amounts:
The case settled for $ 3,493,600.00 on August 18, 1995. Trial was set for October 20, 1995.

Attorney for Client: John F. “Mickey” McGuire, Jr.

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