A California jury ruled in favor of Centex Homes in a case where 56 homeowners in Eastvale, Calif., sued the builder for building code violations and construction defects that the plaintiffs alleged required $24 million in repairs.
The plaintiffs in Edward Guillen v. Centex Homes claimed in Riverside Superior Court that the foundations and roofs of their homes in the Four Leaf Lane development needed to be replaced due to defects. The five-month trial included testimony that the soil, foundations, and structural framing of their homes were damaged as a result of major defects caused by Centex Homes, a division of Atlanta-based PulteGroup. But the jury found in a decision rendered during March that only minor repairs were necessary and awarded homeowners an average of $3,700 each for the repairs.
The case was unique, as very few California construction defect lawsuits have gone to trial and then all the way to a verdict, and none have been near the magnitude or intensity of Guillen v. Centex. Also, defense attorneys worked closely with all of the contractors named in the suit to allow the defense strategy to be effectively implemented.
“We, as counsel for Centex, and counsel for target subcontractors, decided early on our best trial strategy was to join forces to defend the product quality and not to point fingers,” says Newmeyer & Dillion attorney Philip Kopp.
The trial was also an all-electronic trial, to prevent the courtroom from being filled with boxes and exhibits. The plaintiffs supplied approximately 11,000 exhibits, while Centex identified nearly 4,000 exhibits. The court admitted approximately 1,000 exhibits as evidence and allowed the jury access to the electronic exhibits in the courtroom during the trial and deliberation. PB
Sara Elliott, Associate Editor, email@example.com