Construction Defect, Landslide, and Soil Subsidence Including Public Entity Liability
“If a builder build a house for someone, and does not construct it properly, and the house which he built fall in and kill its owner, then that builder shall be put to death.” Hammurabi’s Code of Laws translated by L.W. King.
Our laws are no longer as harsh as those developed by the King of Babylonia the 1700s B.C.E., however, the dangerous effects of construction defects still remain in our modern society.
When Neal Rockwood and Brant Noziska graduated from law school in 1982, California was in a decades old new home construction boom. All of the land that was easy and cheap to build had long since been developed. Land developers and builders were constructing on the highest risk remaining property available. That land needed to be cut, filled, and graded against the adverse effects of landslides and slope failure. Generally included in soils subsidence liability are landslides and other slope stability issues, soil subsidence, differential fill settlement, expansive soils, corrosive soils, high groundwater conditions and other subsurface groundwater conditions, foundations design, retaining wall litigation, standard of care for grading and soils compaction.
As a result of the efforts of many, including Brant and Neal, the standard of care as it pertained to grading subdivisions and foundation design changed to where today new homes are rarely affected by soil movement problems whether from inadequate compactions, differential settlements, expansive soils, or landslides. Having the efforts of many improving the standard of care as to the foundations upon which homes were built, attention broadened into the building envelope. Litigation addressed the ability of homes to resist water intrusion while also being appropriately designed and constructed as seismic and lateral load issues. Neal and Brant quickly became known for being able to handle large complex construction defect cases involving hundreds or thousands of units such as Palm Valley and PGA West and high rise projects such as Harbor Club Homeowners Association. Their expertise spans the gamut from soils and foundation design to rooftop and all parts in between. In an area of law known for lawyers who are quick to seek settlement, they have gained a reputation to take each case to trial if necessary to obtain a good result for their clients.
Neal and Brant have handled litigation from San Diego to Ventura, including Orange, Riverside, and Los Angeles Counties. Interestingly, during one investigation of a landslide in Ventura, our experts located and confirmed a fault previously suspected to exist and mapped its location as part of the Ventura Anticline.