Click here for McCaffrey Group v. Superior Court.
The Right To Repair Act returns with another avalanche of writs and fees.
The homeowner had a leak and called Allstate, his insurance company. Allstate promptly repaired the home and sued KB Home, the developer, for subrogation to recover just over $80,000.00.
KB Home demurred to the complaint because it did not allege compliance with the Right To Repair Act. The trial court eventually concluded that the prelitigation procedures of the Act did not apply to a subrogation action. On writ number one, the court of appeals ordered the trial court to reconsider, which it did, sustaining the demurrer with leave to amend.
After the first writ, KB Home demurred to the amended complaint. The trial court again concluded the the Act did not apply to subrogation matters. On writ number two, the court of appeals ordered the trial court to sustain the demurrer on negligence and strict liability and to overrule the demurrer for noncompliance with the Act.
KB Home and Allstate both moved for summary judgment. The trial court granted Allstate’s motion and denied KB Home’s, holding that two letter constituted sufficient notice. On writ number three, the court of appeals ordered the trial court to reverse itself on both motions. The trial court declined, resulting in this motion.
Unsurprisingly, the court of appeals reversed the trial court, ordering the trial court to enter judgment in favor of KB Home. The Act applies to require a meaningful opportunity to inspect and to repair a home, even when an insurance company believes it is fulfilling its obligations to its insured by acting promptly to address a covered loss.
The attorney’s fees for three writs and an appeal for two sides almost certainly eclipsed the amount in controversy, making the Right To Repair Act a tremendous billing opportunity for attorneys when its purpose was to reduce the time spent in court for contractors, developers, and home owners.