Johnson Law’s Chad Johnson was recently interviewed by the Denver Post reporter Aldo Svaldi regarding current construction defect laws and upcoming proposed construction defect legislation. A link to the story is found here —>Article Link.
Johnson Law’s Chad Johnson was recently interviewed by the Colorado Sun reporter Elliot Wenzler regarding upcoming proposed construction defect legislation. A link to the story is found here —>Article Link.
In a recent case before the Colorado Court of Appeals, Heights Healthcare Company, LLC (Heights Healthcare), the owner of a senior living community, filed a lawsuit against BCER Engineering, Inc. (BCER), an engineering consultant, alleging breach of contract under the Construction Defect Action Reform Act (CDARA). Heights Healthcare Co., LLC v. BCER Eng’g, Inc., 2023 COA 44. The case hinged on a critical zoning-related factor: whether a limitation of liability provision in their contract was valid and enforceable under the Homeowner Protection Act (HPA). Here’s a summary:
Heights Healthcare engaged BCER to provide mechanical and electrical consulting services for the installation of air conditioning units in its senior living facility. The contract featured a clause limiting BCER’s liability to the total fee for services rendered, which amounted to $22,500.
However, the pivotal question was whether the senior living community’s zoning status affected the enforceability of this limitation clause.
The heart of the matter revolved around zoning. The City of Longmont initially zoned the land on which the senior living community stood as “C commercial.” Subsequently, it was rezoned as a “mixed-use corridor,” a zoning classification that included both residential and non-residential uses.
Crucially, even after the rezoning, “residential” uses were permitted within this mixed-use corridor, encompassing multi-family dwellings, single-family attached units, group care facilities, independent living, and more. Despite the change in zoning designation, individuals continued to reside on the property, emphasizing its residential nature.
Drawing upon the precedent set in Broomfield Senior Living Owner, LLC v. R.G. Brinkmann Co., the Court concluded that the senior living community, located within a mixed-use corridor, qualified as “residential property” protected by the HPA. The zoning and actual use aligned, highlighting that the senior living facility was indeed residential in nature.
Therefore, the Court reversed the trial court’s decision, which had upheld the limitation of liability clause, since the senior living community was, in fact, residential property. This ruling underscores the significance of zoning classifications in the legal landscape, particularly concerning liability provisions in contracts.
In summary, this case underscores the critical interplay between zoning regulations and legal protections, shedding light on how zoning can influence the enforceability of contractual clauses in the context of construction and residential property. The Court’s decision emphasizes the need for careful consideration of zoning factors and the Homeowner Protection Act of 2007 when drafting and interpreting contracts in similar scenarios.
We are a busy boutique law office focusing on construction defect law, general construction, and real estate nondisclosure law. We are currently seeking a full-time attorney to join our firm.
- Client coordination from initial representation letters through trial
- Expert selection and coordination
- Draft and respond to pleadings, discovery, and motions
- Defend and take depositions
- Prepare for and try your cases either as first or second chair
- Strong attention to detail
- Admission to Colorado bar
- 5-10 years of civil litigation experience
We might be a good fit if you are someone who:
- Prefers to represent people and small businesses rather than insurance companies and large businesses
- Is a self-starter, has great organization skills, and superior customer service
- Experience in construction defect, general construction, commercial litigation, and/or real estate law
- Has deposition and trial/arbitration experience
- Is familiar and comfortable with technology. Our office uses macs and strives to be paperless
What we offer:
- A flexible work schedule with ability to telecommute. Attorneys are currently only asked to attend one in-office day per week.
- Base salary in the $100,000-$150,000 range, depending on experience
- Full compensation with bonuses reasonably within the $110,000-$200,000 range, depending on experience and results
- A health care benefits plan
- A 401k plan with matching contributions
- A comfortable, collaborative, and friendly work environment
We are committed to giving every client outstanding customer service, exceeding their expectations by being helpful, friendly, and having a positive attitude. Qualified candidates should respond with their resume and cover letter to ap[email protected]. All inquiries will be kept confidential.
For homeowners in Colorado, building or purchasing a home is a significant investment and a dream come true. However, it is disheartening when that dream becomes a nightmare due to construction defects. These defects can range from minor issues like a leaky roof to major structural problems that compromise the safety and value of your property. When faced with such challenges, hiring an experienced construction defect law firm or attorney can be the key to protecting your rights and obtaining the compensation you deserve. In this article, we will explore five compelling reasons why Colorado homeowners should engage the services of a skilled construction defect law firm such as Johnson Law.
1. Expertise in Construction Laws and Regulations:
Navigating the complex legal landscape of Colorado construction defect cases requires specialized knowledge and expertise. An experienced construction defect law firm such as Johnson Law is well-versed in Colorado’s construction laws, building codes, and regulations. They understand the nuances of construction defect claims and can identify the responsible parties, be it contractors, builders, developers, or suppliers. With this knowledge, they can build a strong case on your behalf, ensuring that your rights are protected and that you receive fair compensation for the damages incurred.
2. Comprehensive Evaluation of Construction Defects:
Johnson Law attorneys and staff will conduct a thorough evaluation of your property to identify and document all defects accurately. This evaluation may involve working with expert witnesses, such as construction consultants and engineers, who can provide valuable insights into the nature and extent of the issues. Having a comprehensive understanding of the defects is crucial in determining the most appropriate legal strategy and ensuring you are adequately compensated for all damages.
3. Negotiation Skills and Alternative Dispute Resolution:
Many construction defect cases in Colorado are resolved through negotiation or alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods, such as mediation or arbitration. An experienced construction defect law firm possesses excellent negotiation skills, allowing them to engage in productive discussions with the responsible parties or their insurers. Their goal is to achieve a fair settlement that covers the cost of repairs and other damages without the need for prolonged and costly litigation. If the opposing party is uncooperative, a skilled attorney will be well-prepared to take the case to court if necessary.
4. Protection Against Statutes of Limitations and Statutes of Repose:
In Colorado, there are statutes of limitations and statutes of repose that impose time limits on when homeowners can file construction defect claims. These statutes vary depending on the nature of the defect and other factors. Johnson Law is familiar with these time constraints and will ensure that your claim is filed within the required timeframe. Even if you come to Johnson Law after others told you it was too late, we might know and exception to the statute of limitations and statute of repose laws that can salvage your case. By taking swift action, you maximize your chances of securing compensation and avoiding the risk of your claim being dismissed due to missed deadlines.
5. Trial-Ready Representation:
In some cases, construction defect disputes may escalate to trial. When this happens, having Johnson Law on your side can make all the difference. They will provide you with dedicated trial-ready representation, presenting your case persuasively before a judge or jury. Their experience in the courtroom allows them to effectively argue your claim and advocate for your best interests, even in the face of aggressive defense tactics.
6. We Will Get It Right the First (and only) Time:
Over the past decade of representing homeowners in construction defect actions, occasionally a potential client will meet with us and decide to go with another firm to bring their claim and case. Most often, the law firm they initially choose over us is a friend of a friend, their old personal injury or divorce lawyer, an out-of-state law firm, or other lawyer that does not handle Colorado construction defect cases regularly. All too often we are called six months or so later to beg us to take their case when their case has gone nowhere and they have lost faith in the lawyer they decided to hire. One of those situations happened today, with millions of dollars on the line for major defects, which inspired founding attorney Chad Johnson to write this blog post.
For Colorado homeowners facing construction defects, hiring an experienced construction defect law firm or attorney is not just a prudent choice, but often a necessary one. Johnson Law attorneys and staff have the legal knowledge, negotiation skills, and trial experience needed to protect your rights and secure fair compensation. Whether you are dealing with minor defects or major structural issues, having Johnson Law by your side will give you peace of mind and a better chance of resolving your construction defect claim successfully.
Attorney Chad Johnson was published in an issue of Trial Talk magazine, discussing strategies that homeowners and other consumers can utilize in arbitration to make the process more effective and less expensive. The article is available for download right here —–> Trial Talk Article
Navigating construction defect claims and cases can be a complex and daunting process for homeowners, homeowners associations, apartment building owners, and commercial property owners in Colorado. Luckily, Johnson Law is a reputable law firm dedicated to providing expert legal assistance to clients throughout the state. With their specialized knowledge and experience in construction defect litigation, Johnson Law is committed to helping clients protect their rights and seek fair compensation for construction-related issues. In this blog article, we will explore the comprehensive range of services provided by Johnson Law, catering to homeowners, homeowners associations, apartment building owners, and commercial property owners in construction defect claims and cases.
1. Understanding Construction Defects:
Before delving into the specific services offered by Johnson Law, it is important to understand what constitutes a construction defect. Construction defects refer to flaws or deficiencies in the design, workmanship, or materials used in the construction or renovation of a property. These defects can range from structural issues to mechanical malfunctions or aesthetic flaws, adversely impacting the value, safety, and functionality of the property.
2. The Role of Johnson Law:
Johnson Law is a leading law firm specializing in construction defect claims and cases throughout Colorado. They possess a deep understanding of the legal complexities involved in construction defect disputes and provide comprehensive legal representation to clients, including homeowners, homeowners associations, apartment building owners, and commercial property owners. Their primary objective is to advocate for the rights of their clients, seek appropriate remedies, and secure fair compensation for the damages suffered.
3. Services Provided by Johnson Law:
a. Case Evaluation and Consultation: Johnson Law offers initial case evaluations and consultations to clients seeking legal assistance for construction defect claims. During this process, the firm’s attorneys assess the merits of the case, review relevant documents, and provide expert analysis and advice tailored to the specific needs of homeowners, homeowners associations, apartment building owners, and commercial property owners. This service enables clients to make informed decisions regarding their potential claims.
b. Investigation and Documentation: Once engaged, Johnson Law conducts thorough investigations to gather evidence of construction defects. They collaborate with industry experts, including engineers, architects, and construction professionals, to assess the severity of the defects and determine liability. The firm’s attorneys work diligently to document the defects, preserve evidence, and build a strong case on behalf of their clients, regardless of whether they are homeowners, homeowners associations, apartment building owners, or commercial property owners.
c. Negotiation and Mediation: Johnson Law employs skilled negotiators who engage in settlement discussions with builders, contractors, and their insurance companies. They strive to reach fair and favorable resolutions for clients without the need for protracted litigation. If appropriate, the firm also assists in mediation proceedings, aiming to achieve mutually satisfactory agreements while saving clients time and expenses. Whether it is a homeowners association seeking remedies for defects in a common area or an apartment building owner facing construction-related challenges, Johnson Law is committed to pursuing favorable outcomes through negotiation and mediation.
d. Litigation, Including Trial and Arbitration Representation: In cases where a favorable settlement cannot be reached, Johnson Law has extensive experience in construction defect litigation. Their team of seasoned trial attorneys is prepared to advocate aggressively for their clients, including homeowners, homeowners associations, apartment building owners, and commercial property owners, in court or arbitration. They navigate the complex legal procedures, present compelling arguments, and diligently protect the interests of their clients throughout the trial and arbitration processes.
e. Joint Claims and Class Action Lawsuits: In situations where multiple clients, such as groups of single-family homeowners or homeowners associations, have experienced similar construction defects within a particular development or property, Johnson Law has the expertise to pursue joint cases or HOA standing lawsuits. By consolidating individual claims into a single legal action, they maximize they can strength of the case and ensure collective representation for affected clients. At other times, they may decide it is best for the clients to bring separate claims and cases. Speak with a Johnson Law attorney to decide what is best for your particular claims or cases.
4. Client-Centered Approach:
What sets Johnson Law apart is their client-centered approach. They prioritize clear and open communication, ensuring that clients, whether homeowners, homeowners associations, apartment building owners, or commercial property owners, are kept informed at every stage of the legal process. The firm’s dedicated attorneys provide personalized attention, addressing clients’ concerns, and tailoring their strategies to meet the specific needs of each client. With Johnson Law, clients can trust that their interests are vigorously represented, empowering them to seek the justice and compensation they deserve.
Johnson Law stands as a trusted ally for homeowners, homeowners associations, apartment building owners, and commercial property owners across Colorado, providing exceptional legal representation in construction defect claims and cases. With their in-depth knowledge of construction law, extensive experience in litigation, and commitment to client satisfaction, Johnson Law offers clients the opportunity to protect their rights, seek fair compensation, and navigate the complexities of construction defect litigation successfully. Whether you are a homeowner, a representative of a homeowners association, an apartment building owner, or a commercial property owner, Johnson Law is ready to provide expert legal guidance and support to address your construction-related challenges effectively.
Every homeowner whose home was built defectively understands the damage caused by negligent construction goes beyond repair costs or a drop in the home’s value. Defects harm a homeowner and their family in other ways. A homeowner may be unable to use of portions of the home, may be exposed to unsafe conditions, or may be affected by annoyance or inconvenience. In recognition of these harms, Colorado law allows recovery for these damages in addition to damages more directly related to the defective construction.
The Colorado Construction Defect Action Reform Act (“CDARA”) largely defines the damages a homeowner may recover. (The contract between the homeowner and builder may provide for additional recoveries, such as an award of attorney fees.) The primary category of damages relates to the damaged home itself or the corresponding loss in home value.
The relevant statute – C.R.S. § 13-20-802.5(2) – defines “actual damages” as the lesser of (1) the fair market value of the real property without the alleged defects, (2) the replacement cost of the real property, or (3) the reasonable cost to repair the alleged construction defects. In most cases, the cost of repair is the appropriate measure of damages and the homeowner retains an experienced contractor to prepare an estimate to quantify the cost of repair.
In addition to these property-related damages, a homeowner is entitled to recover for disruptions to the homeowner’s use of their home, as well as the emotional reactions attributable to the builder’s conduct. This is not a comprehensive list but identifies those areas of non-construction damages homeowners most often inquire about.
- Relocation Costs:
If a homeowner seeks the cost of repair as the measure of damages, the homeowner is entitled to relocation costs. C.R.S. § 13-20-802.5(2). These include the cost of replacement housing during any repair period, as well as the costs to move and store furniture and belongings during the repair period. In cases featuring biological growth such as mold, the contents of the home may need to be cleaned by a professional remediation company as part of the movement and storage, an expense falling within relocation costs.
- Loss of Use:
Negligent construction affects a homeowner’s use of their home in a number of ways. Often, homeowners must vacate portions of their home due to defects. For example, a damaged foundation wall may allow water to enter a finished basement, causing the homeowner to remove flooring and furniture and transforming a living area into an uninhabitable space. In effect, the homeowner loses use of their basement. C.R.S. § 13-20-802.5(2) provides compensation for such a loss, stating “other direct economic costs related to loss of use” are recoverable as “actual damages.”
Typically, homeowners quantify loss of use damages by multiplying the percentage of unusable square footage by the monthly rent for equivalent housing. If a homeowner cannot use 33% of their home and an equivalent rental property is $3,300/month, the homeowner can claim $1,100 monthly in loss of use damages until the defects are repaired. Where the entire home is rendered uninhabitable – as in cases featuring severe structural damage – the homeowner should seek the full cost of equivalent housing until the home is deemed safe for occupancy.
- Mitigation Expenses:
Mitigation expenses may be claimed as a form of damages. Absent unusual circumstances, Plaintiffs have a duty to mitigate their damages. In the construction defect context, this means that a homeowner should take reasonable steps to prevent or minimize future damages attributable to the negligent construction. The homeowner can then seek expenses incurred during mitigation as damages. In the example of the damaged foundation wall, if the homeowner regrades a portion of their landscaping to move water away the foundation wall, the homeowner can request the regrading costs – landscaping material, time, etc. – as mitigation damages.
- Annoyance, Inconvenience, Aggravation, and Discomfort:
Losing a portion of a home, dealing with related repair efforts, and the general uncertainty caused by occupancy and ownership of a defective construction all exact a non-economic toll on a homeowner. Colorado law permits a plaintiff to recover personal injury damages for “annoyance, inconvenience, aggravation and discomfort” and the CDARA does not prohibit recovery of such damages by a homeowner. The amount of these damages is capped at $250,000 by operation of the CDARA’s limitation of damages statute at C.R.S. § 13-20-806(4)(a).
Unlike the other damages discussed herein, there is no definitive formula to quantify these non-economic damages. Instead, the jury renders a relatively subjective determination based on the particular facts of a case. Although each case is different, it is extremely rare for non-economic damages to approach the $250,000 statutory cap in construction defect cases.
- Exemplary Damages:
As well, Colorado’s exemplary damages statute may provide an enhancement of damages, although no Colorado Appellate Court has confirmed that exemplary damages are recoverable in construction defect cases.
Exemplary damages are similar to punitive damages. Under C.R.S. § 13-21-102, if the jury determines that the builder’s conduct was “attended by circumstances of . . . willful and wanton conduct,” the jury has the discretion to award up to double the homeowner’s actual damages, a significant increase in the homeowner’s recovery. Willful and wanton conduct is characterized by reckless actions committed without regard to safety of others. In the construction defect context, such conduct may include installation of toxic materials or knowingly disregarding structural engineering requirements. These actions may result in an unsafe home that poses a health risk to its inhabitants.
Exemplary damages are also available in fraud cases. If a homeowner’s builder knowingly concealed defects from the homeowner in order to complete the home sale, exemplary damages may be recoverable.
As experienced construction defect lawyers, the attorneys at Johnson Law regularly represent homeowners in actions against their developer, builder, or general contractor. If you believe your home was negligently constructed or improperly renovated, please do not hesitate to contact the firm for a consultation.
So, you’ve just bought your dream home and have settled in. You take a seat in your favorite chair and right before turning on the TV you notice it—a crack in the ceiling, right at the corner of the room. You get up and examine it and find that it looks like there was fresh paint and plaster covering it up. While annoyed, you make a mental note to call a painter.
A couple of months later…you have started to notice the little things—doors won’t stay closed, windows won’t open, and your nice concrete driveway is cracking. You finally conclude that while not a mobile home, your home is moving. You think of the astronomical cost to stop the damage, but then you remember the fresh paint…. It’s time to call an attorney.
Real estate nondisclosure is a form of fraud whereby a seller sells a home without disclosing a material fact that should have been disclosed. Specifically, to prevail on a claim for nondisclosure, you must demonstrate that the seller failed to disclose a past or present fact that he or she had a duty to disclose, with intent to induce you to take a course of action you would not otherwise have taken, and you justifiably relied on the omission.
In our example above, there appears to be evidence of concealment (an additional potential claim) of the cracks in the ceiling. This raises the question of whether the seller knew that the house was moving and tried to cover up the evidence.
If you find yourself in a situation where you think that your house is moving, or that you have any other material damage to the home, that you believe the seller, his realtor, or even a prior owner failed to disclose, then you should call an attorney. An attorney can use established connections with experts in the construction field to diagnose the issues at your home and their root causes. If it appears that the conditions that caused the damage existed prior to your ownership, and the seller (or others) had knowledge of it, then you may have a claim for real estate nondisclosure.
It is crucial that you have the knowledge to know when to call an attorney in the event that you find yourself in unknown territory regarding your biggest asset—your home.
Johnson Law founder Chad Johnson has been selected to present at the Colorado Bar Association’s CLE program titled “Litigation Nuts & Bolts: Post-Trial and Appellate Issues.” Mr. Johnson was selected to educate Colorado lawyers regarding Colorado “Motions for Reconsideration – When, Why, and How.” For more information or to register for the event, please follow this link to the CBA CLE program website.