SB 800: Down but Not Out!
Until recently SB 800 was down for the count. Many in the building industry thought the law was going to be killed by the Liberty Mutual decision two years ago.
It was there that the California Court of Appeal (in Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. v. Brookfield Crystal Cove, LLC) determined that California’s Right to Repair Law was optional for plaintiffs in construction defects. That decision caused a great deal of turmoil in the courts, and many attorneys questioned whether SB 800 was still valid law. If you forgot about the many protections afforded by SB 800 you can read a good summary here: Summary of SB 800.
In the recent McMillin decision, the Fifth District Court of Appeal analyzed the Liberty Mutual case and rejected its reasoning and outcome. It concluded that the Legislature would not have expressed an intent to reduce construction defect litigation, decrease the cost of insurance, reduce the cost of construction, encourage insurers and builders to return to the market and make housing more affordable, if SB 800 expanded liability as the plaintiffs argued. Now we are ready for the next round. By the Ninth Round we suspect that SB 800 will end up in the California Supreme Court (the big ring).
A copy of the McMillin decision can be read here: Decision