Construction Defect Attorneys
Construction Lawyers - Sacramento County
Disadvantages of Retaining a Sole Practitioner Attorney
Michael T. Chulak & Associates represents homeowner associations and property owners throughout California, including the communities listed below, on a contingency basis in dealing with builders who are responsible for defective construction, including mold infestations. Generally, we can meet or beat the contingent fee percentages proposed by our competitors. We regularly advance all or some of the costs of litigation including expert fees.
Associations and property owners should know their legal rights and not be misled or intimidated when attempting to seek redress for construction defects. The attorneys with Michael T. Chulak & Associates are available to assist you in this regard. We are homeowner / consumer advocates. There will be no charge for the initial consultation.
Many homeowner associations and homeowners in California new home developments as well as condominum conversions are finding that the common areas of their communities and their individual homes have construction defects which are not attributable to the lack of ordinary maintenance. These construction defects include roof leaks, deck leaks, mold infestations, deteriorating streets, improper drainage, structural failure, inadequate soil preparation, faulty electrical wiring, insufficient insulation and sound proofing, inadequate equipment, cracked slabs, defective swimming pools, peeling paint, Chinese Drywall and other defects too numerous to list. The construction defects can be caused by poor design, poor construction, poor choice of materials or defective materials. See Common Construction Defects, Construction Defect Due Diligence Checklist, Construction Defect Glossary, and Common Construction Abbreviations, Defective Vegetative - Green Roofs, and Defective Grasscrete - Porous Pavement Systems.
Nearly all CC&Rs impose upon homeowner associations the duty to maintain and repair the common areas. Legally, this duty includes paying for the correction of defective conditions, including those set forth above. These repairs, which can be quite expensive, can be paid for in several ways:
First, the association can pay for the cost of repairs out of its reserves. However, in most cases the reserves are insufficient.
Second, the amount required to pay the cost of repairs can be obtained by specially assessing the individual homeowners or borrowing funds.
Third, the association may seek redress from the builder who in many cases is legally responsible for the cost of repairs. In those rare situations where a developer has no insurance, we are prepared to pierce the corporate veil.
Attorney - Client Privilege
Construction Defect Laws
California Condominum Conversions
Individual Homeowner Claims
When the board of directors of a homeowners association in California refuses or declines to make a claim against a developer for construction defects, even one individual homeowner may do so. Since every homeowner in a common interest development, such as a condominium association, owns an undivided interest in all of the common areas, they have legal standing to seek damages from a developer who has constructed defective common area components. In addition, every homeowner has standing to make claims for defects in their own homes.
Individual Homeowner Claims
We are one of a few experienced HOA law firms in California that represents individual homeowners in claims against their association. We also provide and have provided legal services to hundreds of homeowner associations throughout California. Most HOA law firms represent only homeowner associations.
Owner Claims Against HOA
The most common claim made by the owners of condominium units against their homeowner associations is that their unit is experiencing water intrusion because the association has failed to maintain the common area. Generally, this involves leaking roofs, decks, planters, walls, and windows, and often improper slopes and drainage. When a condominium unit owner makes a claim against the association, it is generally because the statue of limitations has run and therefore a claim cannot be made against the developer of the condominium community.
If you are a member of an association board, don't let this happen to your association. A competent management company combined with good legal advice can save your association thousands of dollars.
For various reasons, homeowner associations are sometimes short of the funds required to make 100% of all needed repairs after they settle their construction defect claim or obtain a judgment. When this happens, associations often prefer to obtain a loan to cover any shortfall rather than special assess the members. Our firm is unique in being in a position to guarantee the availability of funds should the need arise. The terms of such a loan and guarantee must be in writing. We would be pleased to discuss the details with you at any time.
Mitigation of Damages to People and/or Property
Mitigation of damages is often referred to as the doctrine of avoidable consequences. The doctrine requires that a plaintiff who is injured by a defendant take reasonable steps to minimize his damages. It applies after the defendant causes the harm but at a time when the plaintiff still has an opportunity to avoid at least some of the consequences.
Duty to Mitigate
The mitigation doctrine imposes a duty upon a plaintiff to use ordinary care and reasonable diligence to minimize damages and to avoid increasing the damages.
Application of the Mitigation Rule
The mitigation rule applies to injuries to a person or to property in an action for a breach of contract or tort such as negligence.
Plaintiffs may generally use their own discretion in dealing with their injuries. However, such reasonable discretion does not permit the plaintiff to stand by and watch his losses accumulate so as to seek greater damages from the defendant who caused the injury. Instead, courts impose a reasonableness standard upon the plaintiff. He must expend at least a minimal effort and/or expense to minimize losses if it is reasonable under the circumstances to do so. He is not required, however, to go to extraordinary lengths, spend sums beyond his means, do what is impracticable, give up important and valuable rights, or put himself in any danger in order to minimize damages.
The determination of whether the plaintiff’s attempt at minimizing damages was reasonable requires a court to consider the amount of time between the injury and the plaintiff’s mitigation efforts, the plaintiff’s awareness of the need to minimize losses, the opportunities for the plaintiff to mitigate damages, the cost of mitigating damages, and the plaintiff’s ability to pay.
The fact that a plaintiff has failed to minimize damages after attempting to do so does not prove that he did use reasonable means in his attempts.
Burden of Proof
A defendant has the burden of proving that the plaintiff failed to take reasonable steps to minimize his damages, that the damages could have been avoided, and that the avoidable damages can be measured with reasonable certainty.
Effect of the Mitigation Rule
If a plaintiff fails to reasonably attempt to mitigate his damages, any damages that are awarded to him may be reduced by the amount of damages that he could have avoided.
Recovery of Costs
A plaintiff who takes reasonable measures to minimize his damages may recover the reasonable costs that were expended in doing so, even if his mitigation attempts have failed or increased his losses.
Mitigation by Defendant
Just as plaintiffs are required to mitigate their damages, defendants can be held accountable by a court to reasonably mitigate the damages caused by the defendant.
Whether you are a plaintiff or defendant, we can assist you in formulating a Mitigation Plan designed to protect your legal interest. This part of a case should never be overlooked.
Expert Witnesses and Consultants Needed
In connection with our extensive litigation practice, Michael T. Chulak &
Associates regularly utilizes the services of expert witnesses and consultants.
If you believe you have the knowledge, experience and overall ability to provide
these services, we invite you to complete an
application and return it with your
current resume. Upon receipt, we will enter the information into our database
for use by our litigation attorneys and support staff. Please view our websites
to become familiar with our
areas of practice.
ALS Matching Funds
Research and Patient Services
Michael T. Chulak & Associates will match your tax deductible donations to ALS Association. ALS is also referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease. ALS Matching Funds Information.
The information presented on this site was prepared for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It should not be relied upon as a substitute for consulting with a licensed attorney in your state. The law is constantly changing. In addition, the information presented may not be up - to - date or 100% complete. Our attorneys are licensed to practice law in California and seek to represent clients only in California. Sending us an email or other communication does not create an attorney - client relationship. Only signing a retainer agreement will establish an attorney - client relationship. This is an advertisement.
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