California Fellow Thomas E. Miller Settles La Costa Resort Associations’ Construction Defect Claims for $15.562 Million
The Miller Law Firm, one of California’s largest construction defect claims firms, recently announced its $15,562,875 settlement for the La Costa Resort Villas Homeowners Associations I & II. The settlement was reached within 19 months through mediation efforts facilitated by Ross R. Hart, Esq., of Arbitration Mediation Conciliation Center (AMCC), and is the largest per-unit recovery recorded in San Diego and one of the largest payouts in the state. The sizeable settlement was partially attributed to the degree of damage that was greater than seen in other projects of equal age.
Located in Carlsbad, these associations were completed between 2006 and 2007 and sold as condos. Several of the 82 condominium units were sold to home buyers as an investment property, and were absent property owners. Facing repeated and costly repairs, the Homeowners Associations turned to The Miller Law Firm for guidance. Under California law, there is a statute of limitations which requires homeowner associations to present claims to any builder for construction defects within 10 years of the date of completion of the project. The Miller Law Firm filed suit on behalf of both Homeowners Associations in January of 2016 in the San Diego Superior Court.
“In this case, it was critical to expedite the investigation and mediation process while working around the resorts’ high rate of occupancy,” commented Thomas E. Miller, CEO of The Miller Law Firm. “The insurance carriers for the builder had little choice but to consider the overwhelming amount of property damage caused by water intrusion, as well as the loss of rental income for these owners and the resort, and settle this case in mediation.”
According to the California Bureau of Real Estate, common interest developments (CIDs) in California are increasing. California is now home to more than 52,000 CIDs statewide and 55% of these CIDs in are condo-style developments. Since many resorts offer a residential component with whole or fractional interest in condos, consumers should understand there is assurance and consumer protection in California for the homeowner for up to 10 years from project completion, which has the best laws in the country.
Understanding the risk of construction defects, homeowners and investors must act quickly when there appear to be construction issues. Otherwise, homeowners will have to fund repairs themselves. According to Senior Partner Rachel M. Miller, “Even well-maintained condominiums in resort settings can have significant ‘hidden’ defects, which is why it’s important to have qualified independent experts help Boards of Directors and Community Managers evaluate conditions, particularly when the 10-year statute of limitations is about to expire.”
California Fellow Thomas E. Miller has been a distinguished construction defect attorney for 43 years. He started his legal career in 1973 with one of the three big law firms in San Diego, Higgs, Fletcher & Mack, where he rose to partnership before launching his own practice focused on representing condominium associations with construction defects in 1981. He has also been an Officer on the Board of Directors of his own Homeowners Association for the last 11 years. A nationally recognized expert and pioneer in his field, He has recovered over $750 million for his association clients including 150 settlements and verdicts over $1 million. Most recently, The Miller Law Firm was awarded the National Litigator Award by the Trial Lawyers Board of Regents for two consecutive years. This award is the most well-respected performance measuring symbol of litigation achievement in the nation, honoring only the top 1% of attorneys, and based strictly on tangible verdict & settlement dollar achievement.