The largest construction defect case in Oregon history was recently resolved through settlement after 9 days of mediation. Andrew T. Burns and Peter Willcox-Jones, members of CVK’s Construction Practice Group, with the assistance of the firm’s Appellate Practice Group, obtained great results for the general contractor in this 30 million dollar suit.
The Collins Lake Condominium Project is located in Government Camp, Oregon near Ski Bowl. It consists of 151 condo units in 26 buildings. It was constructed in four phases from September, 2003 to May, 2006.
The buildings were designed to fit the Cascadian style mandated by the local regulations featuring large gabled dormers over entries and garages. This design feature combined with standing seam metal roofs led to a serious ice dam condition in which snow built up in roof valleys, thawed and froze repeatedly and caused roof leaks.
The backs of the buildings featured a long uninterrupted run of roof line with minimal overhangs. As a result, large amounts of snow slid off the roof onto rear decks. Snow built up on rear decks, often covering first floor windows and doors. This put extreme pressure on the rear building envelope at these locations and at the deck/siding interface. Over time, serious water leaks resulted.
The project was constructed without the involvement of an architect with plans that contained few, if any, construction details. The project and the resulting litigation offer valuable lessons on the need for in depth analysis of construction materials and means and methods for projects located in Alpine environments.
The litigation began with the Collins Lake Homeowners Association suing the developer, Mt. Hood LLC, in June, 2007. Mt. Hood sued our client, and we in turn brought in all relevant subcontractors and the manufactures of the sheet metal roof panels used on the project. Our task in this case was to simultaneously defend our client while prosecuting cases against approximately 15 subcontractors and the metal roof product liability case.
In addition to the defect case, three other associated cases were filed involving construction lien disputes, insurance coverage issues and alleged negligence of the attorneys and insurance agents representing the developer. These cases were settled along with the defect case.
The litigation involved analysis of well over 500,000 documents and approximately 50 depositions. Over 25 motions for summary judgment were filed by various parties. Over 100 lawyers were involved. Trial of the defect case would have taken up to 4 months in Clackamas County.
CVK’s Construction Practice Group is honored to have had the opportunity to take a leading role in this ground breaking case. The case presented tremendous challenges from both a legal and practical standpoint. Our team was up to the challenge.