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    Ashburn, Virginia

    Virginia Builders Right To Repair Current Law Summary:

    Current Law Summary: (HB558; H 150; §55-70.1) Warranty extension applicable to single-family but not HOAs: in addition to any other express or implied warranties; It requires registered or certified mail notice to "vendor" stating nature of claim; reasonable time not to exceed six months to "cure the defect".

    Construction Expert Witness Contractors Licensing
    Guidelines Ashburn Virginia

    A contractor's license is required for all trades. Separate boards license plumbing, electrical, HVAC, gas fitting, and asbestos trades.

    Construction Expert Witness Contractors Building Industry
    Association Directory
    Northern Virginia Building Industry Association
    Local # 4840
    3901 Centerview Dr Suite E
    Chantilly, VA 20151

    Ashburn Virginia Construction Expert Witness 10/ 10

    The Top of Virginia Builders Association
    Local # 4883
    1182 Martinsburg Pike
    Winchester, VA 22603

    Ashburn Virginia Construction Expert Witness 10/ 10

    Shenandoah Valley Builders Association
    Local # 4848
    PO Box 1286
    Harrisonburg, VA 22803

    Ashburn Virginia Construction Expert Witness 10/ 10

    Piedmont Virginia Building Industry Association
    Local # 4890
    PO Box 897
    Culpeper, VA 22701

    Ashburn Virginia Construction Expert Witness 10/ 10

    Fredericksburg Area Builders Association
    Local # 4830
    3006 Lafayette Blvd
    Fredericksburg, VA 22408

    Ashburn Virginia Construction Expert Witness 10/ 10

    Augusta Home Builders Association Inc
    Local # 4804
    PO Box 36
    Waynesboro, VA 22980

    Ashburn Virginia Construction Expert Witness 10/ 10

    Blue Ridge Home Builders Association
    Local # 4809
    PO Box 7743
    Charlottesville, VA 22906

    Ashburn Virginia Construction Expert Witness 10/ 10

    Construction Expert Witness News and Information
    For Ashburn Virginia

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    The Ashburn, Virginia Construction Expert Witness Group at BHA, leverages from the experience gained through more than 5,500 construction related expert witness designations encompassing a wide spectrum of construction related disputes. Drawing from this considerable body of experience, BHA provides construction related trial support and expert services to Ashburn's most recognized construction litigation practitioners, commercial general liability carriers, owners, construction practice groups, as well as a variety of state and local government agencies.

    Construction Expert Witness News & Info
    Ashburn, Virginia

    Strict Rules for Home Remodel Contracts in California

    June 06, 2018 —
    Home remodeling in California is governed by strict contracting laws intended to protect consumers. The Contractors State Licensing Board, (“CSLB”) is particularly concerned about contractors working without permits, contractors taking payment in excess of the value of the work complete–including deposits in excess of $1,000–and contractors refusing to complete projects. They are also concerned about contractors who fail to comply with the Home Improvement Contract (“HIC”) laws. At a minimum, it takes six pages of contract language for an HIC to comply with California law. Most contractors do not get it right, leaving themselves exposed to license discipline, misdemeanor criminal prosecution, and void contracts. The stakes are high, and contractors are advised to learn and comply with the HIC laws. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Daniel F. McLennon, Smith Currie
    Mr. McLennon may be contacted at

    Developers Celebrate Arizona’s Opportunity Zones

    May 24, 2018 —
    President Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed by Congress in December included a new community development program designed to promote investment in low income urban and rural communities. These “Opportunity Zones” provide that every Governor may nominate up to 25% of qualifying low-income Census tracts for consideration in the program which provides substantial reductions on capital gains taxes with the greatest benefits to those holding their investments for a period of at least 10 years. States were required by March 21st to submit nominations or request a 30 day extension to subsequently submit. The Treasury Department in turn has 30 days from the date of submission to designate the nominated zones. On April 9, 2018, the Treasury Department and the IRS formally dedicated opportunity zones in 18 states including Arizona. The Department will make future designations as submissions by the states that have requested an extension are received and certified. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Patrick J. Paul, Snell & Wilmer
    Mr. Paul may be contacted at

    Need and Prejudice: An Eleventh-Hour Trial Continuance Where A Key Witness Is Unexpectedly Unavailable

    July 10, 2018 —
    In Padda v. Superior Court (GI Excellence), No. E070522, the Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division Two, recently held that a trial court abused its discretion in denying Defendants/Cross-Complainants’ request for a trial continuance where their key expert witness suddenly became ill twelve days before trial and before his deposition had been taken. Reprinted courtesy of Angela S. Haskins, Haight Brown & Bonesteel LLP and Allegra Perez, Haight Brown & Bonesteel LLP Ms. Haskins may be contacted at Ms. Perez may be contacted at Read the court decision
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    Life After McMillin: Do Negligence and Strict Liability Causes of Action for Construction Defects Still Exist?

    January 24, 2018 —
    The ruling is in but the battle will likely continue over the practical application of SB 800. On January 18, 2018 the California Supreme Court issued its decision in McMillin Albany, LLC v. Superior Court (Van Tassel) (January 18, 2018, S229762) __ Cal.4th __, holding that the statutory prelitigation scheme in The Right to Repair Act (“the Act”) that provides for notice and an opportunity for the Builder to repair defects applies to all claims for construction defects in residential construction sold on or after January 1, 2003, regardless whether the claim is founded on a violation of the Act’s performance standards or a common law claim for negligence or strict liability. (McMillin Albany, LLC v. Superior Court (Van Tassel) (January 18, 2018, S229762) __ Cal.4th __.) With this holding, has the Court ruled that common law causes of action for construction defect still survive? If so, what will they look like and what standards will be applied? The short answer is that it appears that common law causes of action still survive, at least for now, but it is not clear from this decision what they will look like and what standards will apply. Portions of the decision seem to suggest that the Act is the sole and exclusive remedy for construction defect claims: “…even in some areas where the common law had supplied a remedy for construction defects resulting in property damage but not personal injury, the text and legislative history [of the statute] reflect a clear and unequivocal intent to supplant common law negligence and strict product liability actions under the Act.” (McMillin (January 18, 2018, S229762) __Cal.4th.__ [p. 6].) (Italics added for emphasis) However, at the end of the decision, the Court seems to be saying that there may still be a place for common law claims for negligence and strict liability alongside the Act but that these causes of action may be subject to the performance standards in the Act. The McMillin case went up to the Supreme Court on a procedural issue: whether a common law action alleging construction defects resulting in both economic loss and property damage is subject to the Act’s prelitigation notice and cure procedures. The Van Tassels had dismissed their claims under the Act opting to proceed solely on their common law claims including negligence and strict liability. McMillin sought a stay to force the Van Tassels to comply with the Act’s prelitigation procedures. The Supreme Court held that the Van Tassels must comply with the statutory procedures and affirmed the stay issued by the trial court. But the question remained: now that the Van Tassels were left only with common law claims, how would they proceed under the Act? To understand how the Court dealt with this question, one must first understand how the Court dealt with the narrow procedural question presented by the case. The Court provides a very detailed, clear explanation of the reasons why it felt the Legislature intended for all construction defect claims involving residential construction must comply with the prelitigation requirements of the Act. In summing up its conclusions the Court makes three definitive holdings. First, for claims involving economic loss only—the kind of claims involved in Aas—the Court holds that the Legislature intended to supersede Aas and provide a statutory basis for recovery. (McMillin (January 18, 2018, S229762) __Cal.4th.__ [p. 10].) In other words, the Court clearly agrees that the Act was meant to allow recovery of damages based solely on economic damages. No surprise there. Second, the Court held for personal injuries, the Legislature made no changes to existing law that provides common law remedies for the injured party. (Id.) Nobody has ever contested that. Finally, the Court held that for construction defect claims involving property damage and not just economic loss “the Legislature replaced the common law methods of recovery with the new statutory scheme.” (Id.,) (Italics added for emphasis.) In other words, the Court is not saying that negligence and strict liability are not permitted causes of action. The Court is merely stating that these causes of action must comply with the Act’s statutory scheme just as the same as a claim for economic loss. Here the Court is focusing on the procedure that must be followed. “The Act, in effect, provides that construction defect claims not involving personal injury will be treated the same procedurally going forward whether or not the underlying claims gave rise to any property damage.” (Id.) Having laid out its fundamental premise, the Court then deals with Plaintiff’s arguments regarding the intent of the Legislature and makes light work of them all. In the process, the Court disapproves Liberty Mutual Ins. Co. v. Brookfield Crystal Cove LLC (2013) 219 Cal. App. 4th 98, and Burch v. Superior Court (2014) 223 Cal. App. 4th 1411, to the extent they are inconsistent with the views expressed in the McMillin opinion. This is where the decision gets interesting. The Court reminds us that the Van Tassels had dismissed their statutory causes of action for violation of the performance standards under Section 896. One would think at that point that Plaintiffs had to be wondering if they had any claims left given that the Court had ruled that the Act was the sole means of recovery for construction defects. Not so fast. The Court points out that the complaint still rests on allegations of defective construction and that the suit remains an “ ‘action seeking recovery of damages arising out of, or related to deficiencies in, the residential construction’ of the plaintiffs’ homes (§896) and McMillin’s liability under the Van Tassels’ negligence and strict liability claims depends on the extent to which it [McMillin] violated the standards of sections 896 and 897.” (McMillin (January 18, 2018, S229762) __Cal.4th.__ [p. 19].) (Emphasis added.) WHAT DID THE COURT JUST SAY? Did the Court just say that a plaintiff could bring a common law cause of action for negligence or strict liability based on a violation of the performance standards under Section 896? What exactly would that claim look like? What would be the elements of such a cause of action? To answer these questions, the Court states in the very next paragraph, which also happens to be the last paragraph in the decision: “In holding that claims seeking recovery for construction defect damages are subject to the Act’s prelitigation procedures regardless of how they are pleaded, we have no occasion to address the extent to which a party might rely upon common law principles in pursuing liability under the Act.” (McMillin (January 18, 2018, S229762) __Cal.4th.__ [p. 19].) (Italics added for emphasis) Is the Court answering “No” to the questions posed above? Probably not. It is simply following the age old rule that an appellate court will not rule on an issue that is not specifically presented by an appeal, leaving that question for another day. All we know for sure from McMillin is that every claim for construction defects falling within the scope of the Act must follow the prelitigation procedure. There are no hall passes for negligence and strict liability. The larger question posed by the last two paragraphs in the decision, is whether the law recognizes a cause of action for negligence and strict liability for construction defects based on the standards in Section 896. The answer will have to be worked out by judges and trial attorneys in courtrooms across the State! The parameters of this hybrid cause of action that the Court seems to have posited will need more careful consideration than can be offered on first reading of McMillin v. Superior Court. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Balestreri, Potocki, & Holmes

    The Importance of the Subcontractor Exception to the “Your Work” Exclusion

    May 16, 2018 —
    Commercial General Liability (CGL) policies typically include a “your work” exclusion, excluding coverage for “’property damage’ to ‘your work’ arising out of it or any part of it and included in the ‘products-completed operations hazard.’” These CGL policies define “your work,” in pertinent part, as “work or operations performed by you or on your behalf.” (emphasis added). As the recent case of Mid-Continent Cas. Co. v. JWN Construction, Inc., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20529 (S.D. Fla. 2018) reminds us, the “your work” exclusion can serve to eliminate coverage for a general contractor, even when property damage is caused by a subcontractor. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of John J. Kozak, Esq., Cole, Scott & Kissane, P.A.
    Mr. Kozak may be contacted at

    Court of Federal Claims: Upstream Hurricane Harvey Case Will Proceed to Trial

    July 02, 2018 —
    On May 24, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims decided one of what may be many cases involving the terrible flooding wrought by Hurricane Harvey in the Houston, TX region. The Court of Federal Claims has divided thousands of pending claims into “upstream” and “downstream” categories, depending on whether the flooded properties were located upstream or downstream of two U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) flood control reservoirs that were constructed in the 1940s and 1950s. The case is In re Upstream Addicks and Barker (Texas) Flood-Control Reservoirs; however, the Court of Federal Claims’ order in this case applies to “all upstream cases.” Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Anthony B. Cavender, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
    Mr. Cavender may be contacted at

    How Small Mistakes Can Have Serious Consequences Under California's Contractor Licensing Laws.

    February 15, 2018 —
    In construction, some risks have nothing to do with how well a contractor executes a project. Licensing problems is one of these risks. Even a brief lapse caused by an unintentional administrative error can give the CSLB grounds to discipline a contractor, or enable a customer to seek disgorgement and other remedies provided by Business and Professions Code section 7031. This article discusses five tips for mitigating the liabilities associated with licensing problems. Tip 1: Take workers' compensation insurance very seriously. Workers’ compensation insurance problems can trigger license suspension in California. Business and Professions Code section 7125.4 calls for automatic suspension if a contractor cannot provide proof of workers’ compensation insurance for any period of time. This is particularly serious for residential remodelers who claim exemption for workers’ compensation but are later discovered – usually during litigation with a homeowner – to have “off the books” workers helping them. Courts can declare the contractor retroactively unlicensed under these circumstances and order it to disgorge, i.e., to pay back, every penny paid by the customer for the entire project (even for materials). (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 7031, subd. (b); Wright v. Issak (2007) 149 Cal.App.4th 1116.) The contractor will also find itself unable to collect any amounts owed to it by the customer. (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 7031, subd. (a).) Tip 2: Watch out for licensing confusion after a merger or acquisition. The economic downturn of 2008 and 2009 resulted in consolidation throughout the building industry. The newly merged or acquired entities often allowed redundant licenses to expire, assuming they could complete all pending projects under the umbrella of the acquiring company's license. Many learned this was a mistake the hard way. Armed with the California Supreme Court's opinion in MW Erectors, Inc. v. Niederhauser Ornamental & Metal Works Co., Inc. (2005) 36 Cal.4th 412, customers began refusing to pay invoices and demanding disgorgement under Business and Professions Code section 7031 because the original contractor did not maintain licensure “at all times.” Many of these customers succeeded. Tip 3: If a license suspension has occurred or is imminent, prepare to prove substantial compliance. Section 7031(a) and (b) give a disgruntled or indebted customer every incentive to capitalize on a contractor's licensing problems. Subdivision (e) is where a contractor must turn to protect its interests if this happens. It allows the contractor to prove “substantial compliance” with licensing requirements and avoid (a)’s and (b)’s sharp edges if it can show the following:
    (1) The contractor “had been duly licensed as a contractor in this state prior to the performance of the act or contract”;
    (2) It “acted reasonably and in good faith to maintain proper licensure”; and
    (3) It “acted promptly and in good faith to remedy the failure to comply with the licensure requirements upon learning of the failure.”
    The Court of Appeal confirmed in Judicial Council of California v. Jacobs Facilities, Inc. (2015) 239 Cal.App.4th 882 that a contractor, upon request, is entitled to a hearing on these three factors before it is subjected to disgorgement under Section 7031(b). The legislature amended Section 7031 shortly after the Court of Appeal published this case. The Assembly’s floor analysis went so far as to directly quote the opinion’s observation that penalizing a construction firm for “technical transgressions only indirectly serves the Contractors Law’s larger purpose of preventing the delivery of services by unqualified contractors.” (Assem. Com. on Bus. and Prof., Off. of Assem. Floor Analyses, analysis of Sen. Holden's No. 1793 (2015-2016 Reg. Sess.) as amended August 2, 2016, p. 2.) This echoed an industry consensus that clarifying the law was needed to ensure that properly licensed and law-abiding construction firms were not “placed at fatal monetary risk by malicious lawsuits motivated by personal gain rather than consumer protection.” (Assem. Com. on Judiciary, com. on Assem. Bill No. 1793 (2015-2016 Reg. Sess.), pp. 6-7.) Unfortunately, existing law does not give many examples of what it means to act “reasonably and in good faith to maintain proper licensure” or to act “promptly and in good faith” to fix license problems. A practical approach is for a contractor to work backwards by assuming it will need to prove substantial compliance at some point in the future. Designated individuals within the organization should have clear responsibility over obtaining and renewing the proper licenses and should keep good records. If necessary, these designees can testify about the contractor's internal policies and their efforts to fix licensing problems when they arose. For example, if the suspension resulted from not providing the CSLB proof of workers’ compensation insurance, the designee can testify about the cause (a broker miscommunication, transmission error, etc.) and produce documents showing how he or she worked promptly to procure a certificate of insurance to send CSLB. Saved letters, emails, and notes from telephone calls will provide designees and their successors with an important resource months or years down the line if a dispute arises and the contractor is required to reconstruct the chronology of a licensing glitch and prove its due diligence. Tip 4: Don't sign new contracts unless all necessary licenses are active and any problems are resolved. A recently-formed contractor should not begin soliciting and signing contracts until all required licenses are confirmed as “active.” The first requirement of substantial compliance – being “duly licensed as a contractor in this state prior to the performance of the act or contract” – cannot be met by a contractor that first obtains its license mid-project. (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 7031, subd. (e)(1); Alatriste v. Cesar’s Exterior Designs (2010) 183 Cal.App.4th 656.) A licensed contractor should also consider refraining from signing new contracts if there is any reason to believe its license might be suspended in the near future – especially if the suspension will be retroactive. Having a suspension on record at the time of contracting may complicate the question of whether the contractor was “duly licensed . . . prior to performance” for the purposes of substantial compliance. Tip 5: Any judgment against a contractor can cause license suspension if not handled promptly and correctly. The Business and Professions Code authorizes the CSLB to suspend the license of a contractor that does not pay a construction related court judgment within 90 days. The term “construction related” is interpreted to include nearly all types of disputes involving a contractor. (16 Cal. Code Reg. 868; Pacific Caisson & Shoring, Inc. v. Bernards Bros. Inc. (2015) 236 Cal.App.4th 1246, 1254-1255.) This means a contractor should treat a judgment against it for unpaid office rent, for example, as one carrying the same consequences as one arising from a construction defect or subcontractor claim. The contractor should also not assume that filing an appeal, or agreeing with the other side to stay enforcement, automatically excuses the 90-day deadline in the eyes of the CSLB. It does not. A contractor must notify the CSLB in writing before this period expires, then post bond for the amount of judgment, if it wishes to delay payment for any reason. (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 7071.17, subd. (d).) A suspension may result if it does not. This applies even to small claims judgments. Recent case law and the 2016 amendments to Business and Professions Code section 7031 provide some solace to those caught in the dragnet of California's licensing laws. But avoiding these problems altogether is preferable. Consider licensing the foundation of a successful business and deserving of the same attention as the structures a contractor builds. Eric R. Reed is a business and insurance litigator in the Ventura office of Myers, Widders, Gibson, Jones & Feingold, LLP. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Eric Reed, Myers, Widders, Gibson, Jones & Feingold, LLP
    Mr. Reed may be contacted at

    Maryland Legislation Prohibits Condominium Developers from Shortening Statute of Limitations to Defeat Unit Owner Construction Defect Claims

    May 16, 2018 —
    New Maryland legislation prevents developers from shortening the time period within which condominium associations and their unit owner members can assert claims for hidden construction defects in newly constructed condominium communities. The legislation known as HB 77 and SB 258 passed both houses of the Maryland General Assembly and was signed into law by Governor Lawrence J. Hogan on April 24, 2018 (see photo above). Nicholas D. Cowie, Esq. is the author of the legislation, which will be codified as Section 11-134.1 of the Maryland Condominium Act, effective October 1, 2018. This article discusses how this new legislation ends the practice by which some condominium developers attempted to use condominium documents to shorten the normal statute of limitations in order to prevent condominium associations and their unit owner members from having a fair opportunity to assert their warranty and other legal claims for latent construction defects. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Nicholas D. Cowie, Esq., Cowie & Mott
    Mr. Cowie may be contacted at