Brame v. Curtis
In this construction defect matter, plaintiff homeowners had already settled with the developer for a large unknown amount before we were even retained to represent a subcontractor who had constructed v-ditches on the hillsides in back of plaintiffs’ homes. Developer would not release any details about the prior settlement until forced to do so by the discovery referee and judge, so we had to proceed in the litigation for a time without knowing the settlement amount allocated to plaintiffs relative to v-ditches. Our client was brought into this matter by the developer for contribution and express contractual indemnity. Developer’s counsel had employed over forty experts and designed a strategy to make the cost of defending difficult. During the depositions of developers and plaintiffs’ experts, our cross-examinations revealed that plaintiffs had no actual damages to their homes from our client’s work. Other theories including alleged damage to the slope by our client were also not supported and not substantiated by plaintiffs’ lead expert. We settled early compared to other parties and for an amount equal to 2% of one of developer’s earlier settlement demands, and about 20% of the anticipated trail cost.