California Trial Court Clarifies Application of SB800 Roofing Standards and Expert’s Opinions

Ornate glass roof

Attorneys Scott Calkins and Anthony Gaeta obtained a trial victory in a case re SB800 roof standards.

February 18, 2020
Scott Calkins & Anthony Gaeta - Collinsworth, Specht, Calkins & Giampaoli; Mark Chapman - Bert L. Howe & Associates, Inc.

Collinsworth, Specht, Calkins & Giampaoli partners Scott Calkins and Anthony Gaeta obtained a trial victory when the jury returned a 12-0 defense verdict against one plaintiff homeowner, and awarded the other homeowner less than $2,000, an amount well below the defendant’s pre-trial CCP 998 Offers to Compromise. One of the main issues in the case was the application of SB800 roofing standards. Plaintiffs’ roofing expert testified in deposition no water entered the structure or passed through a moisture barrier [Civ. Code §896(a)(4)], and no materials had fallen off the roof [§896(g)(11)]. In an attempt to circumvent the applicable performance standards, Plaintiffs argued Civ. Code §869(g)(3)(A), also known as the ‘useful life’ exception, applied because the various components of the roof (nailing pattern, tiles, vents, etc.) were installed in such a manner so as to reduce the useful life of the roof. Following pre-trial motions and objections made during Plaintiffs’ direct examination, the Court ruled Section 896(g)(3)(A) did not apply to a conventional roof, as it is not a “manufactured product” as defined in §896(g)(3)(C). Plaintiffs’ roofing claims were summarily dismissed and Plaintiffs’ expert was prevented from testifying.

In contrast, the defense expert, Mark Chapman, was allowed to testify regarding his expert opinions as to the appropriate SB800 standard relative to each alleged defect and whether the standards were violated. The SB800 performance standards were included on the jury verdict form, and the jury found Mr. Chapman’s testimony compelling, which was a substantial factor in awarding only minor damages to one Plaintiff.

For more information, contact Scott Calkins (scalkins@cslawoffices.com), Anthony Gaeta (ageta@cslawoffices.com) or Mark Chapman (mchapman@berthowe.com).



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