Frequently Asked Questions of Construction Defect Litigation

How long have you been practicing is this area of the law?

What community association construction defect actions have you handled?

How does your firm handle funding for a construction defect matter?

What is unique about your law firm?

How long does a typical defect case last?

Typically, what is the most difficult part of a construction defect action?

How intrusive is the litigation/discovery process?

How do you proceed once you are retained by an Association?

How do you communicate with the Board?

How do you assist the Board in communicating with members regarding the lawsuit and intrusive testing?

Do you prepare disclosure letters, and which ones?

How do you select and coordinate experts?


How long have you been practicing is this area of the law?

Firm partners Howard Silldorf and Scott Levine would be the two primary attorneys handling your case. We have been practicing construction defect litigation since 1982. Silldorf & Levine, LLP is the preeminent construction defect law firm in California. Our law firm's attorneys drafted SB 800 and the Calderon Act, the legislation governing construction defect litigation. In 1994, Mr. Silldorf, on behalf of the California Trial Attorneys, helped draft Civil Code § 1375, the pre-litigation dispute resolution statute for construction defect litigation with Senator Charles Calderon. In 2002, Mr. Levine, on behalf of the Consumer Attorneys of California, helped draft SB 800, the standards for construction defect litigation for homes built after January 1, 2003.

During the past thirty years, our firm has successfully resolved numerous construction defect matters through pre-litigation dispute resolution procedures, litigation and trial. At Silldorf & Levine, we provide comprehensive representation starting with the pre-litigation investigation of the construction defect problems at the Association’s property and continuing on through to the coordination of construction contracts for post-litigation reconstruction.

We concentrate our efforts on being the law firm that maximizes recovery in every case because we control the process; not the experts. In addition, the defense knows that we prepare for the possibility of our case going to trial from the first day of client engagement. Further, we limit the amount of cases that we handle to ensure that your Association gets the highest level of customer service. Our goal is to get your association enough recovery money to fix every item that leaks, drips or is falling apart.



What community association construction defect actions have you handled?

The attorneys of our firm have handled well over 100+ construction defect matters for community associations during the past thirty years. We are proud to be the law firm that settled the first high rise construction defect case in downtown San Diego in 2010 (Horizons Marina District). We settled this matter in twenty-four months including the Calderon and litigation process. Please see our "Case Results" list that contains details on some of our notable construction defect actions.


How does your firm handle funding for a construction defect matter?

We handle the majority of our Construction Defect matters on a contingency basis. We normally propose a contingency fee that includes that our firm advances all of the costs in your matter. Thus, the Board will not need to have money set aside for experts, fees or costs. Further, if a repair is required during the case and the Association does not have the means to pay for the repair, we can assist the Board with obtaining a construction litigation loan.



What is unique about your law firm?

We are very active and involved in our cases. We do not take each and every case that presents itself to our firm. We are selective in part so that we can help control the costs and thus provide you, our client with more money at the end of the case. In addition, being active in our cases lets us present your case to the Defendants and their insurance companies at meetings and mediations. When the defense hears us explaining the case instead of the experts alone, they know and appreciate that we understand the issues and have properly evaluated our case. This goes a long way in obtaining a resolution of your case.


How long does a typical defect case last?

The time of each action varies. The typical Construction Defect case is approximately 18-24 months from the day that you retain our firm to settlement or trial.


Typically, what is the most difficult part of a construction defect action?

The most difficult part of a construction defect action is maximizing the recovery for your client while minimizing the cost and expense. Our firm uses customized approaches in the handling of all of our cases so that we can maximize the net result for the benefit of our individual client. We do not handle each case the same because they are not the same. Our goal is to obtain the greatest net amount of money to the Association so that it can repair all issues that need to be repaired following litigation.


How intrusive is the litigation/discovery process?

Discovery and the litigation process should not have a terrible impact on your daily operations. Our goal is always to inconvenience the homeowners as little as possible. We have the knowledge and ability to effectuate the major repair process during renovations. We always notify the defense and we supervise the entire repair process.


How do you proceed once you are retained by an Association?

Once we are retained by the Association, our first task is to toll the Association's statute of limitation by filing a Calderon Notice, Warranty Notice and SB-800 Notice.


How do you communicate with the Board?

We will attend all of your board meetings in executive session so that we can answer all of your questions and provide you with candid answers. It is our intent that in executive session we will have a discussion of the issues being presented and provide you with comfort in the decisions you are making as well as the direction that your case is heading. Further, we will educate the Board throughout the process via letters and meetings designed to teach you about the law and the procedures that both help and hurt the chances for maximizing the net monetary outcome for the Association.

At Silldorf & Levine, LLP, we believe the working relationship between the Board and our office is critical to the successful resolution of your matter. As legal counsel to your Association, you can rely upon us to utilize our years of experience to adopt a legal strategy to achieve the best results possible for your Association. However, regardless of our strategic maneuvering, the Board maintains ultimate control over the direction of the matter. As attorneys, we owe the Association a duty to provide the best legal counsel we can. We view our relationship as a team effort demanding active and equal participation.


How do you assist the Board in communicating with members regarding the lawsuit and intrusive testing?

An area of concern for an Association during the course of a construction defect case is fulfilling its legal obligations to the homeowners. Silldorf & Levine, LLP is committed to assisting the Board in discharging its disclosure obligations to the membership.

In addition, we attend your Homeowner Association meetings. Our purpose is to provide the membership with an update about the litigation and to answer questions of your members so that you do not have to do so yourself. Many homeowners will demand answers to questions that cannot be answered and we are there to tell them that they cannot be answered so that you do not have to play that role. You will often know the answers because of our meetings in Executive Session, but it is important for strategic reasons that everyone in the Association not know some of this information as at times it could be sensitive.


Do you prepare disclosure letters, and which ones?

Our firm will prepare all disclosure letters. We create an escrow file and lender disclosure package to assist your Board with the escrow disclosure process for potential homebuyers in your community.


How do you select and coordinate experts?

Our law firm utilizes experts who have worked for both Homeowner Associations and Developers and therefore are more credible and realistic in their opinions and fees. We avoid experts who are prone to overcharging or greatly exaggerating the claims of the Association.

We have had the opportunity to work with the majority of the leading experts providing construction defect services. As a result, we have compiled and will provide the Board with a list of potential experts to provide services in this matter. We ensure that the Board plays a very direct and critical role in the process. It is our goal to assist the Association with keeping case costs as low as possible. By limiting the costs for experts, without prejudicing our client’s case, we can maximize the recovery for your Association. We will assist the Board by reviewing all expert proposals and maintaining a monthly accounting of the ongoing costs.




Silldorf & Levine, LLP will meet with prospective clients to discuss their needs without charge or obligation to the client.

 
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