Construction Defect Claims

Resolving the legal problems that arise during and following construction does not have to break the bank. Top-quality legal counsel and representation is made cost-effective through innovative uses of technology, precise analysis of issues and swift resolution.

At Burglass & Tankersley, we are attentive to client needs, and we work closely with insurers to develop and coordinate defensive strategies. Our attorneys are experienced with projects ranging from residential development to transportation infrastructure construction. Resolving claims in Louisiana for more than 25 years and advising clients throughout the United States, we also represent clients in Mississippi.

We develop and operate joint defense agreements and collaborate with our clients on all levels, defending cases in state and federal court if and when alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods fail. If claims cannot be settled outside of court, we aggressively pursue favorable verdicts at trial, and we have a track record of success.

Avoiding Defects And Litigation

The best defense against litigation and mitigating legal costs is a properly drafted contract with warranties that clearly define contractor liability. We counsel our clients on warranty issues and contract administration issues, and we help them identify and avoid problems in construction projects of all sizes and scopes. We work hard to minimize risks and provide peace of mind through all phases of construction.

When disputes arise, our solutions are creative and customized to each project and client. Our budget estimates are accurate and provided early on. We fight for best possible resolutions, following a method that works in our clients' best interests.

REPRESENTATIVE EXPERIENCE

  • Computer Telemetry System Failure: The firm defeated a claim by an international contractor who installed SCADA System (represented by the largest law firm in Louisiana) paying no money and prevailed on a counterclaim of $1,000,000.00.
  • Terrytown Gymnasium: This firm was retained by the Parish to advise the Parish because there was concern that the contractor it hired to rebuild the Terrytown Gym following Hurricane Katrina, could not perform the contract, which proved to be correct. JaRoy Construction Company began to have substantial claims filed against the project and later ran into criminal problems on other government jobs in the New Orleans region. Ultimately, the Parish had to default JaRoy and call the performance and payment bonds. The Firm has advised the Parish throughout this process and will continue to advise the Parish through the imminent completion of the gymnasium and the negotiation with the Surety over the more than $500,000 in recorded claims and more than $500,000 in liquidated damages.
  • LVI: This firm defended the Parish in a complex Public Works Act claim asserted by LVI Environmental Services, a Fortune 500 Company, and others, related to emergency cleaning and restoration services performed at many of the Parish's buildings damaged during Hurricane Katrina. LVI was a second tier subcontractor and alleged that the Parish and other contractor were indebted to it for a total of $5.9M. The general contractor asserted a claim against the Parish seeking to recover $9.5 million, plus interest, for a total of $12 million for work done on 27 Parish buildings. After impleading the Parish's property insurer, the insurer paid the Parish an additional $1,000,000 toward cleaning expenses, which effectively funded the Parish's payments to settle the litigation. The insurer also contributed $3,250,000 to a settlement with LVI and the other subcontractor while Jefferson Parish contributed $500,000 to that settlement. The ultimate settlement with the company the Parish initially contracted with called for a Parish payment of $500,000 for settlement of all remaining claims in litigation on the 27 Parish buildings.
  • Certain Underwriters at Lloyds London v. St. Rose Metal Buildings and Canal Indemnity: Our client, a subrogated insurer on a multi-million dollar fire loss filed suit against metal building erector who undeniably started the fire while performing roof installation on a warehouse; the resulting fire destroyed the warehouse and all inventory located therein. Our client was sued in a direct action as the CGL carrier on a $1 million policy. We were retained to represent the insurer on a coverage defense. We filed a motion for summary judgment arguing no coverage based on applicable policy exclusions; the motion was granted and our client received a full dismissal.
  • Remondet v. Sandbom Construction and Canal Indemnity: Plaintiff homeowners filed suit against a concrete contractor, alleging that the contractor improperly/incorrectly installed a concrete foundation which had to be torn up and redone, resulting in increased costs both in having to redo the faulty concrete work as well as delaying the project and requiring that the work of other subcontractors had to be torn up and redone. Our client was sued in a direct action as the CGL carrier of the concrete contractor. We were retained to defend Canal on a coverage defense based on the standard CGL "work product" exclusions. We filed a motion for summary judgment based on lack of coverage; the motion was granted and all claims were dismissed.
  • David Stewart, et al v. Auguillard Construction Company, Inc. and Worley's Tree Service, Inc.: In a matter filed in Federal Court, the parents and guardians of a young child and her mother, both permanently disabled in a car accident, litigated claims involving a FEMA contractor and others in Alabama state court and re-filed the suit in Civil District Court in New Orleans, after the Alabama defendants settled for over $10 million. The suit was removed to federal court and survived a motion to remand. Our Rule 12(b)6 Motion to Dismiss was granted and the suit was dismissed without payment by our clients.
  • Daniel Goldsby v. Robert Hansen, individually Robert "Bobby" Hansen Builders, Hansen Builders, Inc., Lee Haynes, individually, Hi Insulation, LLC, Lennox Hearth Products, and Acoustical Specialties & Supply, Inc.: The plaintiff claimed his house burned due to a defective fireplace. We obtained summary judgment dismissing all claims against the insured, Acoustical Specialties & Supply, without payment of any money by our clients.
  • Patricia Bourque v. Essex Insurance Company, et al: The plaintiff sued defendant, seeking damages arising from alleged negligence in the completion of repairs performed at the plaintiff's residence. Plaintiff alleged that she sustained significant personal injuries requiring surgical treatment of her shoulder and cervical spine, plus multiple lumbar spine surgeries. In addition, plaintiff alleged entitlement to future damages for migraine headache syndrome. Past medical expenses totaled $453,000, and plaintiff asserted future medical expenses for $117,000. In closing argument, plaintiff asked for damages in excess of $1.75 million. A unanimous jury declined to find liability, instead entering a take-nothing verdict against plaintiff.
  • Kathleen Hill Tilden v. Blanca, LLC, et al: Alleged slip and fall accident in restaurant, tried to jury over four days concluding March 22, 2012. The dispute centered on the purportedly "sweaty" condition of the tiled floors of an 1860's era New Orleans warehouse building converted to an upscale and popular restaurant. While there was no doubt that plaintiff fell to the floor, knowledge of any condition which could have caused her to fall was specifically denied by the insured, who also generally denied that the tiled floors regularly became slippery due to condensation. Plaintiff claimed she suffered a herniated disc in her neck, rotator cuff tears in both shoulders that required surgery, and depression. Plaintiff incurred medical bills of $180,000, lost wages of $110,000, and asked for a total of $1.1 million dollars in closing argument. The jury returned a unanimous, take-nothing verdict in just over 15 minutes.
  • Lambeth House, Inc. v. Blitch-Knevel, et al: The Firm successfully defended coverage on a third party demand against insured subcontractor. The project was a 12-story, high-end retirement community condominium situated in uptown New Orleans. The necessary remediation involved removal and replacement of a large portion of the masonry exterior of the building.
  • West Baton Rouge Parish v. Dumesnil Construction: We represented the insurer of a roofing contractor in a suit claiming faulty construction of the Parish Welcome Center. Settlement of the owner's significant claim was achieved, with only a small contribution by the insured, plus waiver of the general contractors indemnity demand.
  • Kim and Robert Mulcahy v. Historic Renovation: The Firm defended the insurer of a pool installation contractor in a multiparty case arising from a diving accident. Plaintiff was paralyzed following a dive in the pool. The matter concluded with a relatively minimal payment and satisfaction of contractual defense and indemnity demands asserted by the general contractor.

Contact our firm today. Speak with a lawyer who has a wealth of experience resolving, preventing and mitigating the consequences of construction defect claims.