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Case Results: Construction Law

Below is a list of some of the cases the firm has handled, not a complete list, and is not a guaranty of future results.

Does Corporation v. Roes
$3 Million
Klein & Wilson represented a company which hired design professionals and a general contractor to construct a sales facility in Central California.  The designers and contractors made a number of errors, resulting in construction defects.  Because of insurance coverage issues, the defendants’ insurance carriers refused to settle until Klein & Wilson took approximately 50 depositions and proved that each defendant had serious exposure.  After several mediations, Klein & Wilson recovered $3 million for its client – enough money for the client to make the necessary repairs to its facility.

Vera Townhomes Homeowners’ Association v. Vera Townhomes
$1.5 Million
Klein & Wilson represented a homeowners’ association in a construction defect case.  The developers and contractors denied there were construction defects and refused to pay anything.  After conducting a “show-and-tell” presentation of the defects and inviting all the defendants to destructive testing, the defendants recognized they would be found liable and paid Klein & Wilson‘s client approximately $1.5 million.

Wesley v. Kifton
In this construction defect case, Klein & Wilson sued some of the largest developers in California, including Jack Nicklaus (the golfer) and Watt Industries.  Klein & Wilson‘s clients purchased a large residential lot on a Jack Nicklaus golf course and, soon after the purchase, the lot was destroyed by a flood.  All the defendants denied liability, and Mr. Nicklaus even threatened Klein & Wilson with a malicious prosecution action.  After Klein & Wilson presented compelling evidence that the lot was defective, the defendants settled by paying approximately $500,000.

Doe Corporation v. Roe Corporation
Klein & Wilson‘s client hired a structural engineering firm to design several commercial buildings.  Years after the buildings were constructed, a piece of concrete broke off one of the concrete panels.  Investigation revealed the structural engineer made calculation errors, resulting in inadequate chord connections.  At mediation, Klein & Wilson recovered all of the client’s damages, including attorneys’ fees and prejudgment interest.

Breton v. Midland TME
Mr. Klein represented a construction company for collection of its fees and foreclosure of a mechanic’s lien.  The defendants alleged construction defects and a variety of other defenses, including some issues never before considered by a California court.  Mr. Klein recovered over $250,000 for the construction company and won the right for his client to foreclose on the mechanic’s lien.

Masonry Mechanics v. Breton Construction
Mr. Wilson represented Breton Construction in this construction defect and breach of contract action.  Masonry Mechanics sued Breton Construction for several hundred thousand dollars for nonpayment of its work.  Mr. Wilson proved that Breton Construction refused to pay for the work because it was defective.  Moreover, Mr. Wilson proved that Masonry Mechanics caused Breton Construction to suffer approximately $200,000 in delay damages.  At arbitration, the court awarded Masonry Mechanics nothing and awarded Mr. Wilson’s client approximately $200,000.

Valdez v. Rico
Klein & Wilson won a summary judgment in a mechanic’s lien case, recovering $90,000 for its client.  Klein & Wilson also persuaded the court to order defendants’ property sold to satisfy the judgment.

Doe Corporation v. Roe Corporation
Klein & Wilson‘s client supplied air conditioning equipment to a large project in Los Angeles.  The owner of the project became dissatisfied with the equipment and demanded that the general contractor replace it.  After the general contractor replaced the equipment at substantial expense, a complex construction defect lawsuit followed, exposing Klein & Wilson‘s client to a judgment in the approximate amount of $15 million. The client’s insurance carrier refused to defend and indemnify the client in this bet-the-company case where there was liability.  After months of litigation and employing a variety of consultants to present weaknesses in the plaintiff’s case, Klein & Wilson positioned the case for settlement at mediation.  Ultimately, Klein & Wilson settled the case whereby its client: (a) paid only $825,000; (b) saved over $1 million of legal fees and costs; and (c) was able to stay in business.

Doe Corporation v. Roe Corporation

Plaintiff sued Klein & Wilson‘s client, a general contractor, for $12 million alleging that a 225,000 square foot concrete slab was installed defectively.  Klein & Wilson tendered the defense of the case to the client’s carrier who rejected the tender.  Klein & Wilson threatened to file a bad faith claim against its client’s insurance carrier.  While Klein & Wilson was negotiating with the insurance carrier, Klein & Wilson conducted discovery and proved, through expert testimony and scientific evidence, that the concrete slab was not defective.  Klein & Wilson resolved the case at mediation with its client paying nothing and the plaintiff receiving a nominal amount from the client’s insurance carrier.

Siegel v. Dyer

Plaintiff sued Klein & Wilson‘s client, alleging she failed to disclose fungus when she sold her property to plaintiff.  The case was troubling because the parties signed an agreement in which the client specifically disclosed the fungus, plaintiff agreed to take responsibility for it, and plaintiff received a credit for the condition.  Klein & Wilson filed a cross-complaint alleging plaintiff breached the contract.  On the eve of the hearing on a motion for summary judgment Klein & Wilson filed, plaintiff agreed to pay Klein & Wilson‘s client $60,000 for having to defend a frivolous lawsuit.

Vera Townhomes Homeowners’ Association v. Chesley Construction, Inc.
(Arbitration Award)

A general contractor threatened to sue Klein & Wilson‘s client, a homeowners’ association, for unpaid construction fees.  The homeowners’ association sued first.  At the binding arbitration, the association argued it actually overpaid the contractor.  Before the arbitration, the association offered to settle the case for a “walk-away,” with both sides surrendering their competing claims against each other.  The contractor refused and insisted on pressing its cross-complaint.  The case proceeded to arbitration.  Using a multimedia presentation, Klein & Wilson convinced the arbitrator that the association was owed every penny it requested, and the arbitrator awarded the contractor nothing. The arbitrator later told the local bar association Klein & Wilson‘s multimedia presentation was the most effective trial presentation he had ever seen.