Obtained favorable verdict in construction defect arbitration for a small fraction of the amount sought by the homeowner claimants.

December 2020

Overview and Discussion 

Andrew Gittleman v. Todd Mozden dba TTM Construction  

This arbitration matter arose out of claims related to a construction project undertaken for the remodel of claimant, Andrew Gittleman’s, residence located in El Segundo, CA (the “Project). Based upon the contract date June 2017, the scope of work pursuant to the contract was to include a remodel and addition to the existing structure based on approved plans and specifications, including but not limited to, new electrical lighting, plumbing, exterior stucco, hardscape, paint, heating and air conditioning, windows and doors, countertops, cabinets and trim. The scope of the contract only related to the specific work contemplated by the architectural plans, and anything not on the plans, which is city mandated, was an exclusion under the contract. 

This matter proceeded by way of a five-day arbitration. The arbitrator rendered his award on August 25, 2020, wherein he awarded an interim award in the amount of $71,908.90, in favor of claimants, and identified them as the prevailing party. Claimants originally sought the sum of $461,670 prior to the arbitration, and presented claims at the hearing totaling $377,010.62 ($300,000 than they recovered).  

Subsequently, claimants filed an application for attorneys’ fees and costs wherein they sought $64,658.50 in fees and $30,197.63 in costs. The arbitrator awarded the costs totaling $25,009.19 ($5,000 less than sought) and in terms of the fees sought, the arbitrator agreed with our argument about overbilling and awarded $49,800, a reduction of $14,858.50. The arbitrator’s final award was in the amount of $146,718.09, which was 31 percent of the original amount sought.

Please Note: This article is necessarily general in nature and is not a substitute for legal advice with respect to any particular case. Readers should consult with an attorney before taking any action affecting their interests.