Construction Law

The Sacramento construction defect lawyers at Kassouni Law understand that a home or commercial property is often one’s greatest and most personal asset. It is with that knowledge that the attorneys at the Sacramento and Los Angeles satellite offices of Kassouni Law proceed in handling construction defect cases for clients throughout the state of California. Protecting our clients’ real estate investment is our foremost concern. The construction defect lawyers at Kassouni Law have many years of experience representing over one hundred home owners in construction defect litigation, with multi-million dollar settlements.

The Sacramento construction defect attorneys at Kassouni Law carefully listen to each client’s particular situation to develop a personalized and creative legal strategy. With dedicated advocacy for construction defect compensation, count on our attorneys to understand the importance of your home investment.

It is wise to select a lawyer who is capable of negotiating a maximum settlement or litigating your case at trial. When making your choice, ask about courtroom experience. The litigators at Kassouni Law work on behalf of their clients to settle cases for maximum cost-efficiency, but can skillfully manage a case in the courtroom when necessary.

The Sacramento Construction Lawyers Elaborate on Common Construction Defects

Typical construction defects include settlement problems, drywall and stucco cracks, concrete cracks and discoloration, water intrusion, a leaking roof, plumbing, heating and air conditioning problems, and many other issues related to your home. Another common problem, particularly with condominiums, is inadequate sound insulation to buffer the noise your neighbor makes in the adjacent unit. Movement and shifting of the soil can result in foundation cracks. This often occurs if a house is built on filled soil, and developer did not properly compact the soil prior to building houses. Some developments can be built on over 100 feet of filled soil, and particularly susceptible to improper compaction. These problems may appear to be harmless, but are actually symptoms of underlying defects which can get progressively worse over time, and if you wait too long to seek a remedy in court, the case may be dismissed for being untimely.

Construction defects are common in homes that have been built as part of a large development, particularly if that development was hastily constructed and corners cut. There can be uniform building code violations that are not detected by the developer, and problems can often surface very quickly. It is also irrelevant that your home was “signed-off” by a government inspector. These inspections are typically nothing more than a rubber stamp.

Additionally, it is very important to consult with top experts in the field of construction if you are considering litigation. The attorneys at Kassouni Law have worked with top civil, structural, and geotechnical engineers.

If you own a home within a large development, a custom home, a condominium, a multi-family residential structure, or a commercial structure, please call for a free consultation if you are experiencing problems with construction. We can assist in resolving issues with the developer, and are prepared to litigate in court to ensure maximum recovery if the developer is not willing to provide a proper fix.

The Sacramento Construction Attorneys on the Importance of the Statute of Limitations

It is important to consult with an attorney quickly when construction problems begin to surface. This is because of a legal doctrine called the statue of limitations, which establishes a time period within which the case must be filed against the developer or home builder. If the case is filed too late, the property owner will be unable to recover damages, no matter how egregious the defects.

With respect to the statute of limitations for filing a claim for damages for construction defects, California law draws a distinction between patent defects and latent defects. Patent defects are defined in California Civil Code section 337.1(e) as “a deficiency which is apparent by reasonable inspection.” An example of a patent defect is a leaking roof. Claims related to patent defects must be brought within four years of construction.

In contrast to patent defects, California Civil Code section 337.15(b) defines a “latent” defect as a “deficiency which is not apparent by reasonable inspection.” These claims must be brought within 10 years of construction.

However, there is a twist to the statute of limitations for construction defects that property owners should be aware of. Once you are aware of a defect, you must file the case within three years of discovery under the statute of limitations for negligence. Thus, if you are aware of a latent defect five years after construction, the case must be filed within 8 years of construction. You cannot wait the full ten years. In some unique circumstances the statute of limitations can be extended or “tolled” during the time period the developer promises to make repairs.

In short, the statute of limitations is the first issue that must be addressed and clarified for the benefit of the property owner.

The Sacramento Construction Lawyers on The Litigation Process

The prospect of filing a claim against a developer can be a daunting and uneasy one. However, a seasoned construction defect attorney can guide you through the process. The first step is to communicate with the developer in an attempt to provide the property owner with a complete fix without the need for litigation. If this is unsuccessful, the case will be filed. There is always power in numbers, and it is not uncommon for more than one property in the same development to join together as plaintiffs. The case will usually be assigned to the complex litigation department of court. Both sides will enter into an agreement for the inspection and testing of the properties. After this is done, a mediation session will usually take place wherein the case will settle or proceed to trial. Attorneys fees are often paid only after there is a settlement or judgment, under a contingency fee arrangement.

It is not uncommon for the defendant to be a developer that is no longer in business. However, if that developer had liability insurance during the construction process, the insurance company will have funds available for payment of settlement or judgment. In fact, the attorneys at Kassouni Law have previously recovered substantial sums for clients from the insurance carrier for a bankrupt developer. To have your construction defect matter assessed by the Sacramento construction attorneys at Kassouni Law, please call the offices at (877) 770-7379. Lawyer Timothy Kassouni will speak with you personally.