Construction Defect – Subdivision Community

Patton & Ryan Attorneys Parachute into Colorado Construction Defect Case

This past July, Patton & Ryan stepped in as lead trial counsel on a complex construction defect case just three months before the scheduled trial date undaunted by the knowledge that the case had already been in litigation for four years and had over 20 Plaintiffs. The case alleged multiple theories of liability against Patton & Ryan’s client, a golf course owner and land seller,  Partners John W. Patton, Jr., Dave F. Ryan, and Paul D. Motz accepted the case, assembled their trial team, and headed out to the Rockies.

Among the Plaintiffs’ allegations against our client, were that the seller negligently designed, constructed, and sold them 20 homes that were improperly located in a geologic hazard. The Plaintiffs alleged the area on which the homes were built was hydrocollapsible soil which shrinks and condenses when excessively wetted. The Plaintiffs argued that prior to the construction of the subdivision, the land developer inadequately addressed the soil condition causing their homes to sink up to 20 inches and resulting in an array of structural damage.

The Patton & Ryan trial team faced a number of obstacles, including the fact that expert disclosures were already completed before they were retained, preventing them from engaging any additional experts on four of the key liability issues their client faced. However, the trial team employed the aggressive motion practice for which Patton & Ryan is known, and succeeded in convincing the Court to allow depositions to be taken of an additional 20 fact witnesses. The trial team also won a partial summary judgment motion, substantially reducing the Plaintiffs’ damage claims.

Working around the clock, Patton & Ryan was able to complete additional vital fact discovery as well as taking the depositions of critical witnesses, as granted by the Court, including those of the developer, builder, construction forepersons, and the development’s realtor right up until the day of trial.

Although Plaintiffs had already secured nearly $8 million from the developer, builder and design professionals in pre-trial settlements and a binding arbitration award, their pre-trial demand from our client was nearly $30 million dollars. After a month-long trial fighting to ensure a fair result for their client, the Patton & Ryan trial team managed to secure a jury verdict that was over two million dollars less than the prior settlements and arbitration awards. While post-trial motions are still pending, it is our client’s position that the entire verdict should be subject to the pre-trial set-offs rendering the damage award a nullity.