Construction law has always interested me. As a kid I played in every house being built in the neighborhood, much to my mother’s dismay, and learned how they were put together. I’m also good with my hands and can visualize a building in 3D from a set of plans.
All of this has proved helpful in dealing with construction cases where substandard workmanship is at the bottom of the dispute. Thorough investigation and analysis are fundamental aspects of construction litigation. In residential construction there are two major obstacles to achieving a happy ending for the homeowner. The first is what seems to be an almost congenital refusal on the part of remodelers and other contractors to acknowledge that anything is wrong with what they’ve done, no matter how sloppy the work. The second is the difficulty of obtaining a result that makes economic sense. Proving the work is substandard requires proving what the standard is, which in turn requires an expert witness. Good ones are hard to find and expensive, and every defect is a mini-lawsuit within the overall lawsuit.
As a result, trying these cases can easily turn out to cost as much as it would take to redo the work, and a contractor facing a substantial judgment may go bankrupt or have no assets you can find. The challenge in most of these cases is making a realistic analysis of the cost of demolition and repair, compared to the cost of litigation and the likelihood that a favorable judgment can be collected, then deciding whether a lawsuit would mean throwing good money after bad.