Real Estate Development, Construction, and Premises Liability Litigation

For many years, a large part of our practice has been devoted to representation of nationwide developers of planned residential communities. Our primary clients in that vital industry are currently D.R. Horton, Inc., and formerly Centex Homes. Both companies have been regularly involved with litigation across the nation as a cost of doing business.

We have handled many cases for these developers in Southern California, including contract disputes, construction defect claims, construction site accidents, and class action defense. We have long experience working with the busy executives, engineers, and in-house counsel of mass housing developers. We understand that we cannot allow litigation to interfere with their vital daily job responsibilities.

We have also handled similarly diverse litigation for several national hotel chains for over two decades. These clients have included Doubletree, Holiday Inns, Omni, Promus, Sheraton, Starwood, and Westin. Their cases typically involve contract disputes, premises liability issues, and construction and product defect issues – all of which have resulted in claims both for and against the hotels.

Representative Cases

A developer was dismissed on summary judgment from a lawsuit seeking $50 million for a woman who lost both legs when a dump truck ran over her while making a wide turn to enter a construction site. The developer also recovered $150,000 in legal fees from other co-defendants.

A developer successfully defended a $22 million construction defect and personal injury claim brought in binding arbitration by a condo purchaser alleging mold exposure. The purchaser turned down a settlement package worth over $1 million, and was awarded only $100,000, despite claiming significant personal injuries, property damage, and emotional distress.

A developer won summary judgment dismissing a $15 million claim by a man who became a paraplegic after a head-on automobile collision that was allegedly caused by construction site signs blocking the view at an intersection.

A developer won a $2.9 million binding arbitration award against a subcontractor that failed to install underground improvements after getting advances to pay for them – apparently with the connivance of a crooked job superintendent. The award included damages for the rework, punitive damages, interest, and legal fees.

A developer was dismissed on summary judgment from a lawsuit brought by the minor children of a worker who was crushed on a construction jobsite by a stack of trusses that fell off a delivery truck. The expected claim at trial was $1-2 million.

A developer and general contractor won a defense judgment in a bench trial against a construction worker who was electrocuted when a 20’ copper pipe he was carrying up an open stairwell came in contact with overhead power lines at a construction site. The worker had medical expenses of over $246,000, and was seeking a total award of $1.4 million.

A hotel builder settled a wrongful death case seeking over $1 million by purchasing an annuity worth only about $80,000 in present value for the family of a skilled worker killed by an elevator.

Two hotels were dismissed on summary judgment from two different lawsuits alleging exposure to AIDS. One case involved a child who claimed he sat on a syringe left in his room, and the other case involved a woman who claimed she ate food contaminated by human blood.

A developer won a defense judgment after the bench trial of a premises liability case brought by a home buyer. The buyer claimed serious personal injuries when a stair handrail broke from the wall, and he sought a $400,000 award from the court.

A hotel won a defense jury verdict against a woman claiming $150,000 for injuries sustained when she fell from an elevator that was stuck between two floors.

A hotel settled out of a mass tort case by paying only $60,000 despite being the original “target defendant.” The case involved a hepatitis outbreak infecting twenty-five hotel guests attending a convention, and later settled for over $600,000 paid by other hotel and restaurant defendants.

A hotel settled a crooked supplier’s claim for over $125,000 by paying only $18,000, even though the supplier had receipts signed by the hotel’s chief engineer for the full amount claimed.

Contact us
Main office

Schneider & Branch
225 Broadway, Suite 400
San Diego, CA 92101

Phone: 619-233-5500
Fax: 619-233-5535

David Schneider

Phone: 619-233-5562

Michael Branch

Phone: 619-702-0500

Spencer K. Schneider

Phone: 415-494-9521