Recent Cases

Our goal is to provide a clear, compelling statement of facts such that cases settle before going to trial. Ideally, the case is settled prior to deposition but of course that is not always possible.

Of the cases listed below, the following required depositions and court testimony;

Sequoia Insurance Company vs International Recording Corporation

Masi Plaza Case

We provided depositions in the following cases;

Collins vs Turner Penick

Collins vs Turner-Penick

This was a complex contractual case. The project was a large design-build construction contract to build a number of barracks at Camp Pendleton. The dispute was between the major design-build contractor and their subcontractors. The case revolved around the level of design and coordination instructions the design-build contractor gave to their subcontractors and which party was financially responsible for correcting the errors that resulted from these instructions. During deposition, I provided the opinion that the instructions given by an inexperienced employee and other employees of the design-build contractor forced the subcontractors to undertake work that later had to be removed and redone. This work was done in spite of the subcontractors informing the design-build contractor that there were problems with the work. As a result the client required major revisions to the construction before they accepted the buildings.

Prior to deposition, I reviewed thousands of documents to determine how the project had proceeded.

This case as settled after depositions were taken.

Sequoia Insurance Company vs International Recording Corporation

This case began with the client in jail, charged with arson. Early one Sunday morning, a year earlier, the roof of his recording studio had been blown off by a gas explosion. The ensuring fire destroyed most of the interior of the building leaving the exterior walls. Rather than pay his claim, his insurance company had arranged for a charge of arson to be laid against him for allegedly causing the explosion and fire to collect the insurance money. We went into the wreck of the building that had been disturbed by the insurance investigators and exposed to the elements for a year. Examining the wreckage of the building was like an archeological dig. Using what we found in the building, the insurance investigator’s own photos, the building plans and other documents, we were able to demonstrate that the scenario painted by the insurance company was implausible and that the explosion was an accident. In the end the judge awarded our client the full value of his policy plus interest and cost for a total of over $14m.

This case was an example of how an effective presentation of the facts can be inexpensive. The internal configuration of this complex building was an important factor in the case. We constructed a simple, physical model made of inexpensive foamboard that cost two thousand dollars. This model was effective enough to counter the very expensive computer modeled analysis of other side that cost over ten times as much.

Condominium water penetration case

This case began when a maintenance worker noticed that the stucco on a two year old, three story condominium building was bulging and cracking at the lower level. An investigation quickly showed that there was water infiltration through the stucco at almost every window and in many other locations. The problems were caused by shoddy construction done by the builder. As a result the wood frame structure and sheathing was rotting. The entire exterior of the building was stripped off in order to replace all of the sheathing and a good part of the framing. Our role on this case was to document the remedial work and to make recommendations during the repairs.

Boston Big Dig – Construction Delay Claim

The Boston Big Dig was a massive project with equally massive claims and cost overruns. On one of the many delay claims, Peter Lattey was called in to review the original and as-built schedules, photos and other documents to determine the validity of the claim. He reviewed the evidence and demonstrated that the delay claimed by the contractor was within the control of the contractor and not caused by the owner as the general contractor had claimed.

Davidson v Jamex General Construction Corp

Peter Lattey was deposed as an expert witness to testify in this case regarding the general contractor’s responsibility for the quality of construction. He testified that it was the contractor’s responsibility to ensure that the subcontractors on a residential construction project provide work that meets an acceptable level of quality and that the general contractor is responsible for the warranty. The case was settled after his deposition with a favorable settlement for the client.

Masi Plaza Case

This case required Peter Lattey to develop historical construction costs for a shopping center that was developed in phases over a period of several years. Construction had started 15 years earlier. There were minimal accounting documents and only a partial set of very poor drawings. Due to the antagonistic nature of the case, we were not able to inspect the inside of any of the buildings. The costs were developed using current costs and then deflating them back 15 years. Peter Lattey presented the costs as testimony in court and these costs were accepted without argument by the opposing counsel and the court. This case came to a successful conclusion for our client. Peter’s testimony was an important basis for the settlement.

Cemwood roof tiles class action case

Cemwood manufactured a roof tile using cement, sand and wood fibers that initially came with a 50 year warrantee. Unfortunately for the thousands of homeowners who purchased the tiles, they started to fail after about 6 years. Peter Lattey was part of the investigation team that determined the cause of the failure to be the absorption of moisture by the wood fibers imbedded in the tiles. This caused the fibers to swell and produced micro cracks in the tiles. As a result the tiles became very fragile and crumbled. Mr. Lattey’s role was to document the removal of the faulty tiles, to document the original installation, to provide an analysis of the installation and to assist with the laboratory testing of the roof tiles. We determined that the manufacture of the tiles was defective, not the installation and a settlement was paid to many homeowners.

Mold growth in a seniors residence

Peter Lattey was called to investigate the growth of mold and mildew in a seniors residential complex in the Pacific Northwest. Although the building had been in operation for many years they had only begun to have problems with moisture condensing on the windows and mold growing in the past couple of years. The building was kept very warm for the comfort of the seniors and there were many sources of water vapor from the showers, washbasins and so forth. He spent two days interviewing the staff, looking at the mechanical system and examining the building. A mechanical contractor had quoted them over $100,000 to replace the entire mechanical system. He concluded that aside from some maintenance the mechanical system was working properly. The cause of the problem was the installation of doors across many of the corridors. These were installed two years previously when the facility began taking alzheimer residents. The doors interfered with the flow of air. The solution was to make minor revisions to the mechanical ducts at a cost of a few thousand dollars.

Seismic damage

On behalf of the insurance provider, Peter Lattey analyzed alleged seismic damage to numerous multifamily residential buildings 10 years after the Northridge earthquake. No damage was found that could be attributed to the earthquake and the insurance company denied the claims based on this analysis.

Water Intrusion

Acting on behalf of the insurance company, Peter Lattey was called to investigate water intrusion and a related damage claim by the tenant of a 50 year old office park. The water had entered into an occupied basement area through the basement wall. Peter Lattey determined that the water intrusion was caused by the tenant’s landscaping contractor and was not the responsibility of the building owner. The contractor had replaced the soil in the flower beds adjacent to the building. In doing so, they had damaged and removed the waterproofing of the basement walls. The tenant was required to remove the soil and replace the waterproofing.

Twin Towers Investigation

Peter Lattey assisted with the analysis of the World Trade Center collapse on 9/11. He helped assess the key issue of the extent of the “linkage” between the two towers to determine if this was one insurable incident or two. His input was a technical analysis of the mechanical, electrical and other linkages between the two towers and the shopping area under the podium. The courts determined it was one incident.