Following a seven-day jury trial in Riverside Superior Court, Collinsworth, Specht, Calkins & Giampaoli partners Scott Calkins and Anthony Gaeta won a trial victory when the jury returned a 12-0 defense verdict against one plaintiff homeowner, and awarded the other homeowner less than $2,000, an amount well below the defendant’s pre-trial CCP 998 Offers to Compromise. The jury verdict was a net defense judgment for all claims, and allows the developer to potentially recover tens of thousands in expert and other costs. The homeowners alleged violations of the construction performance standards of SB800, as well as claims for breach of warranty and breach of contract.
The trial victory in one of the only cases in recent years to try SB 800 claims to a jury provides developers, general contractors, and subcontractors further clarification of how the performance standards are applied by a judge and jury. The case also required defense of contract-based claims, which the homeowners attempted to deploy as a means for circumventing the building standards. Scott and Anthony were able to eliminate the majority of these contract claims before trial and convince the jury to reject the rest.
Partner James Ganion and Jennifer Mullen, a partner in Collinsworth, Specht, Calkins & Giampaoli’s Arizona office, recently secured a complete defense verdict on behalf of a developer client in binding arbitration. The homeowner plaintiff claimed the tile floor was improperly installed in her new home, which injured her foot when she tripped and fell as a result.
Jennifer’s deposition of the Plaintiff and her treating physician were pivotal in convincing the arbitrator there was no connection between the alleged fall and the claimed injuries because the Plaintiff did not see a doctor until her return from the convention, and the medical records indicated she did “not recall any injury” which caused her foot pain. She was also able to exclude the testimony of the Plaintiff’s standard of care expert after establishing he lacked the requisite credentials necessary to offer opinions related to the standard of care of the developer. Post-hearing fees and costs were awarded in favor of our our client.