Earlier, we wrote about an appellate court split concerning the Right to Repair Act (Civil Code sections 895 et seq.) which applies to construction defects in newly constructed residential properties including single-family homes and condominiums (but not condominium conversions) sold after January 1, 2003.
The California Court of Appeals for the Fourth District, in Liberty Mutual Insurance Company v. Brookfield Crystal Cove LLC (2013) 219 Cal.App.4th 98, held that the Right to Repair Act does not provide the exclusive remedy when pursing claims for construction defects involving “actual” property damage (e.g., a defectively constructed roof causing actual physical damage due to water intrusion as opposed to a defectively constructed roof that while constructed improperly does not cause actual physical damage). However, the California Court of Appeals for the Fifth District, in McMillin Albany LLC v. Superior Court (2015) 239 Cal.App.4th 1132, which is currently pending before the California Supreme Court, held that the Right to Repair Act does in fact provide the exclusive remedy when pursuing claims for construction defects whether they involve “actual” property damage or merely “economic” damages. For homeowners, they would prefer the option of pursuing remedies under either or both the Right to Repair Act (which includes detailed pre-litigation procedures and statutory construction standards) or under common law claims such as negligence (which do not include pre-litigation procedures and have more flexible standards of care).
The California Court of Appeals for the Third District has now thrown its hat into the ring . . . on the side of McMillan.