Covid-19 Update and Statutes of Limitation in California Construction Defect and Real Estate Litigation

As the California courts move toward reopening, it’s important to be aware of certain specifics. First and foremost, the Statewide Emergency Order designating a Holiday and essentially a stay on all deadlines for court filings ended on May 12, 2020. Upon the expiration of the order and the emergency-imposed holiday, all applicable deadlines, including any statutes of limitation that apply to any action, including a number of statutes of limitation that apply to construction defect and real estate claims, apply, are running and must be met. 

There are several statutes of limitation in California that apply to construction defect and real estate litigation claims to watch: First, under Civil Code § 896, there are a number of statutes of limitation that apply to claims for defects in new original construction of a home intended for sale: This includes: 4-years from the close of escrow for plumbing, sewer, electrical and hardscape defects. The 10-year statute of limitations for latent defects in CCP § 337.15 will still apply where SB800 is silent, and until the defect is discovered. However, be aware that once any defect is discovered, the 3-year statute of limitations for damage to real property under CCP § 338 will apply, as may the 4-year statute of limitations for breach of contract. 

For actions excluded from The Right to Repair Act entirely, under Civil Code §943, that is, actions for breach of contract, 4-years under CCP § 337, fraud, 3-years under CCP § 338,  for statutory violations, which include violations of the building code, plans and Business & Professions Code as it applied to contractors, there are separate statutes of limitations. The statute of limitations for breach of a written contract is 4 years, negligence 2 years, fraud 3 years and injury to real property 3 years, CCP § 338. Note that all these statutes of limitation can be affected by the Discovery Rule, which would start the statute running from the date the plaintiff-claimant became aware of the harm, or when a reasonable person would have been placed on notice.  

These statutes of limitation are no longer stayed by the Emergency Order. If you have a construction defect or real estate litigation matter, you must file your lawsuit within the time frames set by law. If you have a claim or think you may have a claim, consult with Timothy Norton of Norton & Associates today. 

Virtually every activity, except jury trials, can be conducted safely and effectively telephonically, and by remote video, such as Zoom. CourtCall and telephonic appearances in the Los Angeles Superior Courts are routine and now expected. Remote and Zoom conferences, meetings and mediations are now the norm. The ease, efficiency and effectiveness of Zoom for meetings, depositions, mediations and possibly some arbitrations and bench trials means that these proceedings can be conducted effectively, via computer at any time, safely and without risk, and without commuting. This has caused everyone to re-think the entire process, and to realize that commuting to in-person meetings is simply not necessary, and is time consuming, costly and inefficient. 

Norton & Associates now conducts all meetings and interactions with clients, mediators, judges and arbitrators via remote, safe, connections, including Zoom. 

Bias in the Workplace

Recent protests over the killing of George Floyd and the movement this has sparked cannot be ignored. One of the biggest and most challenging problems we face today is bias in the workplace. It’s vital to be aware that everyone, yes everyone, has biases that affect their thoughts, actions and conduct in the work environment and professionally. Many of these biases are deeply ingrained and subconscious. We may say we are not biased or prejudicial, when in fact, we are biased and prejudiced in ways that we may not be aware. There are a number of studies that have demonstrated this and along with those studies there are a number of sources that help identify unseen biases and provide insights and tools to eliminate bias. Eliminating bias is a matter of highest importance, and everyone has a responsibility to inquire, to learn, to educate themselves and eliminate bias from the workplace. There are several excellent sources for attorneys available on the Web and as part of the continuing education programs and series available to attorneys.  Take advantage of these resources and eliminate your bias. 

Norton & Associates Los Angeles Construction Defect and Real Estate Litigation Attorney

Timothy Norton of Norton & Associates now conducts litigation, mediations, settlement conferences, court appearances, meetings and depositions remotely and electronically for efficiency and safety. Protecting your real estate investment from construction defects and real estate fraud and non-disclosure is now more important, safe and efficient than ever. 

With 34 years of experience protecting rights and investments in real property, representing clients in construction defect and real estate litigation, with $190m in jury verdict awards, $70m in punitive damage awards and millions more in settlement, Norton & Associates is your Los Angeles construction defect and real estate litigation attorney

Protect your investment: Call or email today for a case evaluation and consultation. Call 310.706.4134 or email info@constructiondefect.com

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