When you receive construction defect claims, the first step is to contact your insurance company. Unless the contractor is going to take care of the defect on its own, most insurance policies require contractors to notify the insurer early before much work is done to address the dispute legally. The insurer will either take on the legal challenge on behalf of the contractor or decline to do so.
Minnesota Construction Law Services will be your advocate throughout the entire process, either handling the defense or overseeing the work of your insurance’s company-provided representation. Our experience resolving construction defect claims ensures that we implement resolutions that benefit the contractor.
YOUR LEGAL ADVOCATE FOR DEFECT CLAIMS
Residential construction defect claims
New home construction defects
Subcontractor construction defect cases
What is our process?
First, we have to determine if we are the ones suing or if we are the ones being sued. If we are on the offense, we spend more time on steps 2 and 3 to resolve the dispute or draft a plan. If we are on the defense, our time is limited and instead strategize accordingly.
Step One: Suing or being sued?
After telling us more about the dispute, we dig deep into the provided documents and the law for extensive research. From there, we come up with our strategy for moving forward and either initiate or respond to the lawsuit. We also gather additional information or data for the case.
Step Three: The planning, research, and drafting
Pre-trial preparation involves not only preparing our argument for trial but organizing all of our court documents, providing our witnesses with notice, drafting our jury instructions and verdict form, and many other final details to prepare for a favorable trial.
Step Seven: The pre-trial
During the discovery process, we also enter into motion practice. Motion practice is where the attorneys are asking the court to do something, such as dismissing the case, asking the other side to produce a document or answer a question, or excluding a witness or document from the case.
Step Five: The motion practice
We take the best action that will benefit your business, or what MNCLS calls the “business solution.” We try to find a way to avoid a lawsuit (if we’re on offense) or end it quickly (if we’re on defense) by working with the other party to find a resolution. If a resolution is not possible, we move to step 3.
Step Two: The pre-suit dispute resolution
After the lawsuit has begun, we start the process of finding out what the other side knows and the documents they have through written and in-person discoveries. The purpose of the discovery process is to gauge the opponent’s offense or defense to ensure we are properly prepared.
Step Four: The discovery
The court almost always requires an alternative dispute resolution. At MNCLS, we always participate in mediation unless arbitration is required by the court or the contract. Mediation is similar to our pre-suit dispute resolution, but it is done in front of a neutral party to establish a resolution without the use of litigation.
Step Six: The mediation
A trial can range from one day to several weeks. Most cases that we have are between 1-5 day trials. The number of days at trial depends on the dispute, whether we were able to narrow issues down through our motion practice and the number of documents and witnesses.
Step Eight: The trial
There are two common reasons construction defect claims are unjustly filed; the homeowner was unaware of the project expectation or the homeowner does not want to or is unable to pay. As a contractor, you must manage the customer’s expectations of the project, such as explaining limitations or potential problems, to reduce future surprises and limit potential construction defect claims. When the homeowner or customer runs out of money or doesn’t want to pay, filing a defect claim is often used as a method of escaping payment. At MNCLS, we help contractors navigate this process and receive compensation.
When the defect claim is justified and the work was performed by a subcontractor, MNCLS makes certain the sub that performed the work is held accountable for the cost of repairing it.
Yes, your insurance company needs to be involved in the process from the beginning otherwise you risk denial of a claim later on.
Yes. If the project was residential built by a licensed contractor, the process defined in the warranty statute, Minn. Stat. Sec. 327A must be followed. For projects that are not covered by the warranty statute, the nature of the claim will dictate the process by which the claim will be investigated, validated, and resolved. MNCLS is very experienced with these processes and will work to ensure an efficient and economical resolution of the problem.
Maybe. Your insurance company will determine early on whether it will provide the defense for the claim. MNCLS lawyers will step aside, work with your insurer, or take total control of the process depending on what your insurer decides. Our goal is the best resolution for our clients.