Archive - 2015

1
Arbitration Update: An Overview of Recent California Appellate Decisions
2
California Complex Civil Litigation Superior Court Panels
3
OSHA Inspections: What to Expect and How to Prepare
4
Extra Extra
5
Disclosure, Disclosure, Disclosure
6
Contractor License Overview – With a Twist
7
Trial Evidence Limitations Imposed on Request for Admission Denials
8
SB 652: Homeowners Required To Notify Potential Buyers Of Construction Defect Claims
9
Colorado Update: Proposed Legislation Regarding HOA Condominium Defect Claims
10
Contractors: CALGreen Energy Provisions Have Been Changed

Arbitration Update: An Overview of Recent California Appellate Decisions

A Primer on the Evolving Case Law Governing the Enforceability of Arbitration Clauses

By: Richard H. Glucksman, Craig A. Roeb and Grace A. Nguyen
Published in California Lawyer – Download Article
December 4, 2015

Arbitration is a common procedure for dispute resolution—specific clauses requiring arbitration frequently appear in both commercial and consumer contracts. Even so, lawyers continue to battle over when and how arbitration can be invoked. Those skirmishes have produced a flood of recent appellate decisions that has greatly transformed the availability and enforceability of arbitration.

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California Complex Civil Litigation Superior Court Panels

By: Richard H. Glucksman, Jon A. Turigliatto, and David A. Napper
November 24, 2014
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The Complex Civil Litigation Program is relatively new as it has only existed in California since 2000. Complex divisions dedicate courtrooms solely for litigation of complex civil cases that require exceptional judicial management including construction defects, antitrust, securities, toxic torts, mass torts, and class actions. Complex civil courtrooms help the trial court operate in a more efficient, expeditious, and effective manner. A complex court reduces costs for litigants by streamlining motion practice and expeditiously resolving discovery disputes.

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OSHA Inspections: What to Expect and How to Prepare

By: Craig A. Roeb and Katherine J. Flores
October 11, 2015
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In 2014, 4,679 individuals were killed while working in the United States – an equivalent of 3.3 fatalities per 100,000 full-time workers and more than 13 deaths per day.1   Obviously, workplace safety is a major concern.  To ensure safe and healthful working conditions, in 2014, there were 36,163 federal the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) inspections and 47,217 State Plan OSHA inspections.2

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Extra Extra

All Claims for Construction Defects in Residential Construction Sold on or after January 1, 2003 are Subject to Requirements and Procedures of the Right to Repair Act (SB 800)

McMillin Albany LLC v. Super Ct. 2015 F069370 (Cal.App. 5 Dist.)

By: Richard H. Glucksman, Jon A. Turigliatto, and David A. Napper
September 8, 2015
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In a particularly dramatic and noteworthy fashion and breaking with the Fourth Appellate District and rejecting the holding in Liberty Mut. Ins. Co. v. Brookfield Crystal Cove LLC (2013) 219 Cal.App.4th 98, the Fifth District Court of Appeal held that the California Legislature intended that all claims arising out of defects in new residential construction sold on or after January 1, 2003 are subject to the standards and requirements of the Right to Repair Act, commonly referred to as SB800, including specifically the requirement that notice be provided to the builder prior to filing a lawsuit.  Thus, SB 800 is the exclusive remedy for all defect claims arising out of new residential construction sold on or after January 1, 2003.

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Disclosure, Disclosure, Disclosure

A Brief Reflection Regarding the Trend Towards Heightened Disclosure Requirements in Real Property Transactions

By: Richard H. Glucksman, Jon A. Turigliatto, and David A. Napper
September 1, 2015
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A brief reflection regarding the trend towards heightened disclosure requirements in real property transactions including the recent case of Wong v. Stoler (2015 WL 3862525), where the seller’s failure to disclose private sewer line resulted in rescission of the contract.

In a very recently published opinion in a real property disclosure case, the First District Court of Appeal in Wayson Wong v. Ira Stoler (2015 WL 3862525), held that the trial court declined to effectuate a rescission of the contract based on incorrect justifications and that its alternative remedy failed to provide the purchasers with the complete relief to which they were entitled.

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Contractor License Overview – With a Twist

By: Richard H. Glucksman, Jon A. Turigliatto, and David A. Napper
September 1, 2015
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The California Contractors State License Board provides licenses to contractors and regulates the state’s construction activity. The California Business and Profession (“B&P”) Code Section 7031 prohibits unlicensed contractors from bringing or maintaining an action to recover compensation in any court in the state of California. Section 7031 also addresses, amongst other issues, recovery from an unlicensed contractor and when proof of licensure is required in a civil suit. In order to recover in a civil action, a contractor must allege that he or she was a duly licensed contractor at all times during the performance of that act or contract, regardless of the merits of the cause of action brought by the person. Section 7031 protects consumers who enter into agreements with contractors and promotes the public policy of having licensed, competent, and honest builders. See Montgomery Sansome LP v. Rezai (2012) 204 Cal.App.4th 786. However as further examined by the recent case of Art Womack v. David Angus Lovell et al. (2015) WL 3658066, Section 7031 also protects the builders and contractors from cagey pleading practices by Plaintiff homeowners.

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Trial Evidence Limitations Imposed on Request for Admission Denials

By: Craig A. Roeb and Grace A. Nguyen
Published in Verdict Magazine – Download Article
June 10, 2015

In a matter of first impression in California, an appellate court has concluded that a party to litigation cannot use another party’s denial of Request for Admissions as impeachment at trial. On January 13, 2015, in Gonsalves v. Li, 2015 WL164606, the First District Court of Appeal overturned a $1.2 million jury verdict after the plaintiff’s attorney repeatedly examined the defendant over his denials of admission requests that had been propounded in the case.

In Gonsalves, plaintiff, Kenneth Gonsalves, worked as a sales consultant at a BMW dealership.  He filed an action against Ran Li and Xiaoming Li after Ran Li lost control of a BMW that he was test-driving, with Gonsalves and Xiaoming Li as passengers. After Ran Li turned onto a freeway on-ramp, he lost control of the vehicle, causing it to spin into a guardrail.  Gonsalves sued Ran Li for motor vehicle negligence, and sued Ran’s father, Xiaoming Li, for negligent supervision.  Xiaoming was later dismissed from the action. 

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SB 652: Homeowners Required To Notify Potential Buyers Of Construction Defect Claims

By: Richard H. Glucksman and Jon A. Turigliatto
February 5, 2015

Beginning July 1, 2014, SB 652 amends the Transfer Disclosure Statement required under Civil Code §1102.6 for residential property, to ask sellers about the following type of specified claims “threatening or affecting” the property:

  1. Claims for damages by the seller pursuant to Civil Code § 910 or 914.
  2. Claims for breach of warranty pursuant to Civil Code §900.
  3. Claims for breach of an enhanced protection agreement pursuant to Civil Code §903.
  4. Claims alleging defect or deficiency in the property or common area improvements pursuant to Civil Code §910 or 914.

Newly enacted SB 652 requires the seller of residential property to disclose to potential purchasers all specified claims of damages related to construction defects, including all pre-litigation claims presented to the builder and the status of those claims.

Existing law, pursuant to SB 800, requires a homeowner to follow a mandatory procedure prior to filing a construction defect lawsuit. The process requires the homeowner to submit the claim to the builder, and then gives the builder a right to repair the defects. If the builder fails to make repairs, or the repairs are not adequate, the homeowner may proceed with the filing of a lawsuit. While existing law also requires that a seller of residential property disclose at the time of transfer anything that materially affects the value of the property, there is no requirement that a homeowner notify a potential buyer of a construction defect within the home.

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Colorado Update: Proposed Legislation Regarding HOA Condominium Defect Claims

By: Richard H. Glucksman and Jon A. Turigliatto
February 5, 2015

DISCUSSION

As part of our on-going mission to monitor and track legislatures, legal decisions and developments throughout the United States that impact our clients, we share the following brief discussion of potential tort reform legislation presented in Colorado regarding construction claims by Homeowner Associations for condominiums.

Lawmakers in Colorado formally introduced SB 220, a proposed measure requiring:

  1. Condo owners to submit to alternative-dispute resolution, such as mediation or arbitration, for any construction defect claim that occurred when the homeowner association required alternative-dispute resolution, even if the requirement no longer exists at the time the claim is brought;

  2. Notice be given prior to the purchase and sale of a condominium that the homeowner association’s may require binding arbitration of certain disputes; and

  3. The association’s board to obtain the written consent of a majority of the condo owners before a construction defect lawsuit is filed on behalf of the homeowner association (emphasis added).

Currently, in Colorado, homeowner association boards are only required to obtain two condominium owners’ consent to file a construction defect lawsuit against a developer. SB 220 would real significantly increased this requirement by requiring that the association board must obtain the written consent of a majority of the condominium owners before filing a construction defect lawsuit. This helpful requirement would have had the practical impact of reducing the number of lawsuits filed and decrease the threat of frivolous lawsuits against developers. Furthermore, it would require more construction defect claims to be resolved out of court, further discouraging homeowner associations from bringing meritless claims against developers.

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Contractors: CALGreen Energy Provisions Have Been Changed

California Contractor Operations Affected by CALGreen Energy Provisions

By: Richard H. Glucksman and Jon A. Turigliatto
February 5, 2015

Energy provisions effective July 1, 2014, instead of January 1, 2014

There have been changes to California contractors whose operations are affected by residential and non-residential energy regulations or CALGreen energy provisions. Contractors are being alerted to the change in the effective date to the 2013 California Energy Code, 2013 California Administrative Code – Chapter 10, and certain energy provisions in the 2013 California Green Building Code (CALGreen).

The original effective date of January 1, 2014, for specific sections of the 2013 triennial edition of the California Building Standards Code, Title 24, has been changed to July 1, 2014.

The California Energy Commission (CEC) experienced unanticipated delays necessitating the CEC energy related provisions. The California Building Standards Commission (CBSC) approved the CEC action and issued Information Bulletin 13-07 on December 18, 2013, announcing the delayed effective date.

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