NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., Dec. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Thomas E. Miller, Newport
Beach construction defect attorney and the author of "Handling Construction
Defect Claims -- Western States," declares that the California Supreme Court
Decision Monday, which said that homeowners can no longer sue builders for
negligence in California unless construction defects have caused property
damage or personal injury, is anti-consumer.
Pure economic damage includes the amount and costs to repair items, such
as lack of firewalls, improper shear walls, faulty electrical wiring and the
like, that will now not be recoverable by homeowners unless a fire, earthquake
or other catastrophic event occurred causing the building to suffer
significant physical damage or the occupants to sustain serious injury or even
Consumer Groups will be forced to propose counter legislation as soon as
possible. "Homeowners associations have a duty to keep the homeowners in the
associations safe and repair discovered defects. When there are no safeguards
from the court, associations will be forced to incur costs for repairing known
defects on their own or be liable for harm caused to homeowners or visitors of
the association," Miller said.
Miller is in agreement with the dissenters in the case. "When buildings
are not built to code, a red flag should go up. For instance, if a firewall
is not built to code, damage from earthquake or fire may not be imminent, but
may cause harm in a later time if a fire or earthquake occurs," Miller said.
Justice George said the court should have adopted a rule to allow homeowners
compensation for repairs of life-threatening defects. "A court could ensure
that the money was spent to repair the property," George argued. In addition
Justice Mosk, in a dissent, said that he regretted that the court failed to
create even a "minimal safeguard" for homeowners.
"I am disappointed the court took such a shorthanded view of a systematic
problem in the building industry. This will open up the gates for companies
to build homes using shoddy workmanship, since they believe that they are
protected from laws that require they adhere to building codes and industry
standards. We stand firm as consumer attorneys that homeowners must be
protected. I will lobby hard to ensure that appropriate legislation is
proposed to counteract the Supreme Court Decision," Miller said.
Since 1981, the Miller Law Firm has collected more than $350 million in
construction defect awards on behalf of California homeowners associations.
The Miller Law Firm can be reached at ConstructionDefects.com
SOURCE The Miller Law Firm