The plaintiff homeowner association filed a construction defect complaint against our client, Green Street Venture, LLC, the developer of a 60 unit condominium complex over a subterranean garage in Pasadena, California. The complaint was also filed against the project general contractor and 13 of the relevant subcontractors. Plaintiff asserted causes of action for Strict Liability and Breach of the Right to Repair Act. Trial counsel for our firm were partners Bruce Lorber and Thomas Olsen. The trial lasted over 2 months in Burbank, California.
The plaintiff’s law firm took a “no-holds-barred” approach to the litigation and their experts put forth defect allegations and a consequent cost of repair with some of the most extreme, far reaching, allegations we have seen in over 35 years of experience in this area. By way of example, the plaintiff’s architectural expert Dean Vlahos advocated that the roofs, stucco system, windows, decks, railings, drywall and waterproofing needed 100% replacement, throughout the entire project.
Believing the plaintiff’s overreaching to be a vulnerable point in their case, we focused our opening argument on pointing out such excesses. We highlighted the plaintiff’s over-the-top pleas and contrasted it to our defense scopes of repair. The plaintiff requested $17 million just before trial which they reduced to $15 million at trial. Our defense cost of repair was $1.1 million.
Most evidence in the trial was presented digitally and we utilized extensive trial technology to appeal to what appeared to be a well-educated jury. We used such technology to our advantage both in cross-examining Mr. Vlahos and the other experts for the plaintiffs, as well as presenting our case in chief.
The jury deliberated for over a week before the case settled confidentially on terms favorable to our client. After dismissing the jury, we interviewed them and they confirmed that they liked and trusted the experts and evidence presented on the defense side much more than plaintiff side, and would have likely come back with a verdict of between $2.0-2.5 million. We believe the results of the jury interviews validated the settlement amount, with such settlement allowing our client to have the peace of mind to pursue future real estate development.