The Bases of Construction Defect Claims and Suits
Negligence has the same definitions regardless of the state where it is alleged. It has been defined as: “a legal duty owed to the Plaintiff by the Defendant; a breach of that duty; an actual injury to the Plaintiff; and a showing that the breach was a proximate cause of the injury.”
The California Supreme Court upheld a judgment for property damage caused by negligent residential construction in Sabella v. Wisler, 59 Cal.2d 21, 27-30 (1963). The defendant had built a house and offered it for sale to the general public. As it turned out, the defendant’s negligent preparation of the lot, in combination with a subcontractor’s careless plumbing work, later caused leaks, subsidence, and damage to the house. The purchasers sued for negligence. The builder, arguing unsuccessfully against the imposition of tort liability, held that “the liability of a contractor should be determined by the consideration and weighing of the various factors bearing upon liability.” It was held that the builder was responsible for the ensuing damage.
The Nevada Supreme Court, in answer to a question posed by a federal district court, concluded that, in a commercial property construction defect action in which the plaintiffs seek to recover purely economic losses through negligence-based claims, the economic loss doctrine applies to bar such claims against design professionals who have provided professional services in the commercial property development or improvement process.
© 2020 – Barry Zalma
Barry Zalma, Esq., CFE, now limits his practice to service as an insurance consultant specializing in insurance coverage, insurance claims handling, insurance bad faith and insurance fraud almost equally for insurers and policyholders. He also serves as an arbitrator or mediator for insurance related disputes. He practiced law in California for more than 44 years as an insurance coverage and claims handling lawyer and more than 52 years in the insurance business. He is available at http://www.zalma.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
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