On March 20, Gordon & Rees Denver partner Amy Darby and associate Ross Hoogerhyde won substantial defense costs for their client, a homebuilder, after a four-day bench trial in Colorado Springs.
The plaintiffs claimed extensive construction defects existed in a home constructed by the builder that they purchased in 2005. The plaintiffs also claimed that the alleged defects resulted in mold, personal injuries, loss of use and diminution in the value of the home. They demanded more than $545,000 in damages.
Prior to trial, the homebuilder served the plaintiffs with a statutory offer of settlement for $25,000. This offer would have fully compensated the plaintiffs for repairing the minor construction defects involving a tear in building paper and missing kickout flashing. However, the plaintiffs rejected the homebuilder’s offer and refused to engage in settlement discussions.
Following a four-day bench trial with numerous witnesses and experts, the court awarded the plaintiffs $14,809.92. The court’s award provided for only the items the homebuilder repeatedly had offered to repair, which were the basis of the rejected statutory offer. The court rejected the plaintiffs’ claims that all windows and stucco required replacement and found no credible evidence of mold.
Because the plaintiffs failed to obtain a judgment in excess of the homebuilder’s statutory offer, the defendant will recover its costs, which exceed the plaintiffs’ judgment.