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    New Washington, Pennsylvania

    Pennsylvania Builders Right To Repair Current Law Summary:

    Current Law Summary: HB 1875 stipulates that “no later than 90 days before filing an action, serve written notice of claim on the contractor. Upon receipt of notice, builder has 15 days to forward the claim to any subcontractor/supplier and 30 days after service of notice to offer to compromise and settle the claim by monetary payment without inspection, propose to inspect the dwelling that is the subject of the claim; or reject the claim. Contractor has 14 days after inspection to provide written notice of intention.”

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    No state license required. For public works projects, see General Services website.

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    Home Builders Association of Adams County
    Local # 3920
    PO Box 3321
    Gettysburg, PA 17325
    New Washington Pennsylvania Construction Expert Witness 10/ 10

    Builders Association of Fayette County
    Local # 3961
    PO Box 1323
    Uniontown, PA 15401
    New Washington Pennsylvania Construction Expert Witness 10/ 10

    Somerset Co Builders Association
    Local # 3958
    PO Box 221
    Berlin, PA 15530

    New Washington Pennsylvania Construction Expert Witness 10/ 10

    Franklin County Builders Association
    Local # 3912
    1102 Sheller Ave Ste C
    Chambersburg, PA 17201

    New Washington Pennsylvania Construction Expert Witness 10/ 10

    Building Industry Association of Philadelphia
    Local # 3946
    1735 Market St Ste A432
    Philadelphia, PA 19103

    New Washington Pennsylvania Construction Expert Witness 10/ 10

    Home Builders Association of Chester & Delaware Co
    Local # 3941
    1502 McDaniel Dr
    West Chester, PA 19380

    New Washington Pennsylvania Construction Expert Witness 10/ 10

    York County Builders Assn
    Local # 3972
    540 Greebriar Road
    York, PA 17404

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    Construction Expert Witness News and Information
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    The New Washington, Pennsylvania Construction Expert Witness 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. Leveraging from this considerable body of experience, BHA provides construction related trial support and expert services to New Washington'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.

    Construction Expert Witness News & Info
    New Washington, Pennsylvania

    Issue and Claim Preclusion When Forced to Litigate Similar Issues in Different Forums: White River Village, LLP v. Fidelity and Deposit Company of Maryland

    October 10, 2013 —
    Often in construction litigation the parties wish to move the case to arbitration. However, there are certain circumstances in which such change of litigation forums should be carefully analyzed. The case of White River Village, LLP v. Fidelity and Deposit Company of Maryland, serves as an example of one of those circumstances. In March 2013, U.S. District Court Judge Blackburn ruled on a motion for summary judgment filed by Fidelity and Deposit Company of Maryland (“F&D”). The order grants the motion in part and denies it in part. White River Village, LLP (“White River”) was the owner of the project which hired S&S Joint Venture (“S&S”), the contractor, to build two similar developments, directly adjacent to each other. The contracts between Whiter River and S&S for the two projects were so substantially similar that the court referred to them as the S&S Contracts. F&D issued payment and performance bonds guarantying the obligations of S&S under the S&S Contracts. After S&S defaulted on the construction contracts, F&D, as the surety, undertook to complete performance on the contracts. White River alleged that F&D was liable for construction defects and delays in completing the project, and failed to fulfill its obligations under the performance bonds after it overtook the construction of the projects. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Brady Iandiorio
    Brady Iandiorio can be contacted at

    Miller Wagers Gundlach’s Bearish Housing Position Loses

    May 19, 2014 —
    Bill Miller said investor Jeffrey Gundlach and real estate billionaire Sam Zell are wrong about housing. Gundlach, the chief executive officer of DoubleLine Capital LP, and Zell, chairman of landlord Equity Residential, predict fewer young people will buy homes, further driving down the U.S. ownership rate. Miller, the stock picker who beat the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index for a record 15 years, said he’s so confident lending and housing will rebound that he’s betting on mortgage insurers, homebuilders and subprime servicers. “Anytime there’s a cataclysm, people always say it’s never going to come back,” said Miller, 64, sitting outdoors at a table overlooking Baltimore’s harbor. “I don’t believe there’s been a secular change in demand for housing. People may just rent longer than they otherwise would have before eventually buying.” Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Alexis Leondis, Bloomberg
    Ms. Leondis may be contacted at

    New Case Alert: Oregon Supreme Court Prohibits Insurer’s Attempt to Relitigate Insured’s Liability

    November 17, 2016 —
    In a big win for policyholders, the Oregon Supreme Court recently ruled that that insurance companies are not allowed to relitigate the nature of damages awarded against their insureds during an underlying trial. In a coverage dispute stemming from a contractor’s faulty work on a condominium development, the insurer argued that at least a portion of the damages awarded represented the cost of repairing the contractor’s own work product. Coverage for such damages would be explicitly excluded by the policy. However, the Oregon Supreme Court found that the jury had been instructed that it could not award damages for the contractor’s own faulty workmanship. The court declined to give the insurer a chance to attempt to reclassify the nature of these damages. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Austin D. Moody, Saxe Doernberger & Vita, P.C.
    Mr. Moody may be contacted at

    Steps to Curb Construction Defect Actions for Homebuilders

    June 15, 2017 —

    The homebuilding and construction industries in California are at a record high in 2017 according to the National Homebuilders Association. While there is finally prosperity and growth for builders, developers and contractors after suffering from the recession of 2008, there is also a growth in construction defect claims. As with every industry and especially with construction, there are several risk prevention methods that can help curb this litigation.

    Time Frames for Pursuing Construction Defect Claims

    It is important to know and understand the time frames for which construction defect claims can be pursued by homeowners. There is a hard cut-off for construction defect litigation in California known as the Statute of Repose of 10 years. California Code of Civil Procedure (“CCP”) §337.15 provides a statute of repose that bars actions to recover damages for construction defects more than 10 years after substantial completion of the work of improvement. This provision is limited to property damage claims and does not extend to personal injuries (See, Geertz v. Ausonio, 4 Cal.App.4th 1363 (1992) and willful misconduct or fraudulent concealment claims. (See, Acosta v. Glenfed Development Corp., 128 Cal.App. 4th 1278 (2005).

    There are also interim statutes of limitations for “patent” and “latent” defects discovered at the home also from the date of substantial completion. CCP §337.1(e) provides for a four year window to bring suit for deficiencies that are apparent by reasonable inspection (patent deficiencies). CCP §337.15(b) provides for deficiencies that are not apparent by reasonable inspection or hidden defects that require invasive testing to become apparent (latent deficiencies). A latent defect can become patent after it “manifests itself” (i.e. becomes observant – for example a roof leak) for which the four year window from the date of discovery would become the applicable statute of limitations.

    The discovery rule effectively acts to toll the statute of limitation period on construction defect claims until they become reasonably apparent. (See, Regents of the University of CA v.Harford Accident & Indemnity, Co., 21 Cal.3d 624, 630 (1978). This is similar to a breach of contract claim, also a four year statute of limitation. Finally, the California Right to Repair Statute (SB800) – Civil Code §§895, et seq. specifically Civil Code §896 sets forth the “Functionality Standards” or a list of actionable defect items, including items affecting the component’s “useful life” and a catch-all provision for all items not expressed listed as defects in the statute. (Civil Code §897). The majority of the defects alleged have a 10 year statute of limitations. However, there are shortened statute of limitations for the following items:

    Functionality StandardsStatute of Limitations
    Noise Transmission 1 year from original occupancy of adjacent unit
    Irrigation 1 year from close of escrow
    Landscaping Systems & Wood Posts (untreated) 2 years from close of escrow
    Electrical systems, pluming/sewer systems, steel fences (untreated), flatwork cracks 4 years from close of escrow
    Paint/Stains 5 years from close of escrow
    All other functionality standards (Civil Code §941(a)) 10 years after substantial completion(date of recordation of valid NOC)

    Preventative Measures to Curb Construction Defect Litigation

    Once the builder knows the time frames for construction defect claims, the following are some preventive measures to limit construction defect claims. As a reminder, homeowners are less likely to bring construction defect action if they feel that the builders are taking care of them.

    1. Communicate With Homeowners Prior to Claims

    It is imperative to communicate with the homeowners throughout the ten years statute of repose period. For example, most builders provide a limited warranty to the homeowners at the time of purchase. Homeowners are generally confused as to the length of the warranty and what the warranty covers. A practical tip to help curb construction defect claims is for the builder to send postcards or letters to the homeowners at the six month, one year and nine-year marks to advise the homeowner of: (1) the existence of the warranty and what is covered at each time frame; (2) the maintenance obligations of the homeowner at the various time frames; and (3) the fact that the home is approaching the ten-year mark. Most builders would rather deal directly with the homeowners through customer service than defend a construction defect litigation action where the costs to defend the claim will vastly exceed the cost to address the individual homeowner issues. The more the builder communicates with the homeowner in advance, the less likely it is that the homeowner engages in litigation against the builder.

    2. Timely Response to Homeowner Claims

    During the purchase process, provide the homeowners instructions on how to send in a customer service or warranty requests. Provide multiple methods for notification to the builder by the homeowner when issues arise in their home (fax, email, website forms, etc.). The builder should provide a timely response – within 48 hours of the notice if possible. The homeowner wants to receive some notification from the builder that they received their request and, at the very least, will investigate the claim. Even if it is determined to be a maintenance item or homeowner caused damage, the homeowner should receive: (1) an acknowledgement of the claim; (2) an investigation report of the issue; and (3) an action plan or conclusion statement – this can be a declination of repairs with an explanation as to the cause not being the result of original construction. Sometimes even sending a customer service representative to the home to listen to the homeowner claims and explaining that there are not repairs required is sufficient to satisfy the homeowner. The goal is to make sure the homeowner’s claims are acknowledged and that the builder is standing behind its product. In my experience, the fact that the builder failed to respond in a timely fashion to the homeowner is a significant motivating factor as to why the homeowner elected to enter formal litigation against the builder.

    3. Be Proactive When Litigation Ensues Despite the fact that the homeowner has engaged an attorney and joined a construction defect action, the builder is not precluded from continuing to communicate with its homeowners. Several builders send letters to the non-plaintiff homeowners reminding them to contact the builder should they have issues at their homes rather than join the ongoing construction defect action. Under the law, clients can always talk to clients even if they are represented by counsel. While the attorneys for the builders cannot speak to the represented construction defect homeowners, the builder can communicate directly with its homeowners offering to honor its warranty and customer service procedures in lieu of the homeowner proceeding with the litigation. Both of these builder attempts to communicate with homeowners post-litigation have a dual effect – some homeowners elect to contact the builder to effectupate repairs and drop the litigation; while others elect to continue with the litigation. So proceed cautiously in this regard.

    It is noted, there are many motivating factors for homeowners to bring a lawsuit against homebuilders that have nothing to do with the construction practices or customer service and are merely economically driven. However, these small steps in addition to providing solid construction practices should help curb construction defect litigation by homeowners.

    Jason Daniel Feld is a founding partner of Kahana & Feld LLP, an AV Preeminent boutique litigation firm in Orange County specializing in construction defect, insurance defense, employment and general business litigation matters. The firm was founded with the goal of providing high-quality legal services at fair and reasonable rates. The firm believes that what defines attorneys is not their billing rates, but their record of success, which speaks for itself. For more information, please visit:

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    In Supreme Court Showdown, California Appeals Courts Choose Sides Regarding Whether Right to Repair Act is Exclusive Remedy for Homeowners

    August 10, 2017 —
    Earlier, we wrote about an appellate court split concerning the Right to Repair Act (Civil Code sections 895 et seq.) which applies to construction defects in newly constructed residential properties including single-family homes and condominiums (but not condominium conversions) sold after January 1, 2003. The California Court of Appeals for the Fourth District, in Liberty Mutual Insurance Company v. Brookfield Crystal Cove LLC (2013) 219 Cal.App.4th 98, held that the Right to Repair Act does not provide the exclusive remedy when pursing claims for construction defects involving “actual” property damage (e.g., a defectively constructed roof causing actual physical damage due to water intrusion as opposed to a defectively constructed roof that while constructed improperly does not cause actual physical damage). However, the California Court of Appeals for the Fifth District, in McMillin Albany LLC v. Superior Court (2015) 239 Cal.App.4th 1132, which is currently pending before the California Supreme Court, held that the Right to Repair Act does in fact provide the exclusive remedy when pursuing claims for construction defects whether they involve “actual” property damage or merely “economic” damages. For homeowners, they would prefer the option of pursuing remedies under either or both the Right to Repair Act (which includes detailed pre-litigation procedures and statutory construction standards) or under common law claims such as negligence (which do not include pre-litigation procedures and have more flexible standards of care). The California Court of Appeals for the Third District has now thrown its hat into the ring . . . on the side of McMillan. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Garret Murai, Wendel Rosen Black & Dean LLP
    Mr. Murai may be contacted at

    General Contractors Must Plan to Limit Liability for Subcontractor Injury

    May 18, 2011 —

    It takes more than a hard hat, but safety checks, a good policy and a smart contract might save you some problems.If you are a general contractor, you will want to pay close attention to this article. A new Washington appellate decision showcases a general contractor’s liability to subcontractors who are injured on the job, when security barriers fail. But can a general limit this liability? Will its contract help?

    In Wrought Corporation, Inc., Appellant V. Mario Interiano (quick note: this opinion is unpublished, but we are here to talk about an issue that was not determined on appeal – WISHA compliance), a subcontractor was injured when a security barrier failed and he fell into an elevator shaft.

    A jury awarded a $1.56 million verdict against the general contractor, and the court of appeals affirmed on the basis that the general contractor has a non-delegable duty to ensure compliance with the Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act of 1973, codified under RCW 49.17 (WISHA).

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    Reprinted courtesy of Douglas Reiser of Reiser Legal LLC. Mr. Reiser can be contacted at

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    Purse Tycoon Aims at Ultra-Rich With $85 Million Home

    September 24, 2014 —
    The eight-bedroom, 15-bath Beverly Hills, California, mansion has $5,600 toilets, a wall of caramel onyx and an 18-seat screening room with doors clad in Italian lizard skin. Asking price: $85 million. Rapper Jay Z has taken two tours of the hillside aerie with views that sweep from downtown Los Angeles to the Pacific Ocean. The estate was developed by Bruce Makowsky, who made his fortune selling handbags through department stores and the QVC television channel. “There was a void of homes for super-wealthy people, and that’s why I did it,” Makowsky said while sitting near a curved 54-foot (16-meter) glass wall that slides open to an infinity pool with iPad-controlled fountains. “I don’t think there’s anybody who’s served up $85 million-to-$100 million homes at this level for somebody to step into and buy.” Mr. Gittelsohn may be contacted at; Ms. Brandt may be contacted at Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of John Gittelsohn and Nadja Brandt, Bloomberg

    Ackman Group Pays $91.5 Million for Condo at NYC’s One57

    April 15, 2015 —
    A group including billionaire investor Bill Ackman paid $91.5 million for a duplex penthouse at Extell Development Co.’s One57 condominium tower, one of New York City’s most expensive home purchases ever. The purchase of unit 75 in the luxury skyscraper overlooking Central Park closed on March 27, according to property records filed Thursday. The buyer was listed as 57157 Co. LLC, a single-purpose entity that Ackman controls. The 13,554-square-foot (1,259-square-meter), six-bedroom home spans the 75th and 76th floors of the 90-story skyscraper. Ackman last year told the New York Times it was “the Mona Lisa of apartments.” Monthly common charges on the unit were estimated at $23,595, according to documents Extell filed with the state attorney general’s office. Reprinted courtesy of David M. Levitt, Bloomberg and Oshrat Carmiel, Bloomberg Read the court decision
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