Stucco Lawsuit Lawyer – Settlement & Recall - Cracking & Water Damage
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The Stucco lawsuits claim that home builders and contractors have improperly been installing stucco on homes, which is causing the stucco to eventually crack and water damage to occur.

Our law firm is accepting clients who have experienced property damage as a result of improper stucco applications. We have been handling claims involving defective construction since 1955, and we are listed in Best Lawyers in America and The National Trial Lawyers Hall of Fame.

 

What is Stucco

Stucco Purpose

Stucco is a form of plaster made from lime, sand, and water that has been used in building construction for thousands of years. Examples have been found in archaeological sites throughout the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. In ancient Rome and Greece, it was used primarily for decorative purposes, and even for creating sculptures. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it was favored by the upper classes for decorating walls because of its “aristocratic” look.

The use of stucco fell out of favor during the 1920s, although its use continued well into the 1950s, usually for interiors. Today, stucco is used primarily for exteriors. Modern stucco is made with Portland cement as well as the traditional ingredients. In addition, some manufacturers and contractors add ingredients such as fibers and acrylics in order to make the material stronger and more flexible.

Properly made and applied, stucco offers excellent protection from damage due to moisture. However, if certain procedures are not followed and the contractor fails to mix the stucco properly, it can mean disaster for the homeowner. This is what has happened in dozens of cases in wetter regions of the country, where errors during construction allowed water to penetrate the surface, causing the underlying wood to rot away.

 

What Causes Stucco to Fail

According to a case study of homes in Florida from the American Institute of Architects and the National Institute of Building Sciences, stucco has frequently been applied directly over concrete block wall construction, commonly in thicknesses of a quarter-inch or less (building codes specify thicknesses of between five-eighths and three-quarters of an inch). Normally, exterior stucco requires reinforcement or some type of lath for support; however, this was not done in numerous cases. While the intention is to create a waterproof seal, this barrier begins to fail with age.

Stucco also shrinks as it cures, resulting in what is known as “microcracking.” For this reason, there needs to be expansion joints installed in the form of a lattice so as to relieve the stresses caused by this phenomenon. When stucco is applied directly to the substrate (the outer walls themselves), the microcracking can grow into larger fissures that allow water penetration. Although stucco is often painted and treated with sealants in order to improve its waterproofing properties, these coatings can also crack after several years of weather exposure.

 

Who Is Responsible When Stucco Fails

Stucco Liability

A number of home builders have been identified as having built substandard dwellings. One of these is Toll Brothers, which touts itself as “America's Luxury Home Builder.” According to the company's most recent annual report, its liability for stucco-related damage currently amounts to nearly $209 million, in addition to $115.5 million for “non-stucco” related water intrusion.

A representative for Toll Brothers informed a news station that they have “worked diligently to address water intrusion issues,” and that their customers “enjoy the full protection and the right to make claims under the longest warranty in our industry” – which is ten years.

Unfortunately for Toll Brothers' customers, much of the damage has occurred in homes that are older than that. Because of that, these homeowners are receiving letters, informing them that their claims “exceed all warranties that were carried out...as well as any statutory periods within which claims must be made.”

Another home builder being implicated in this unfolding disaster is Pulte Homes, which “has stated its willingness to take the necessary actions to address their homes' issues.” However, the company is blaming consumers taking legal action for delays in making repairs.

In Florida, contractors have been denying repair claims, and have been telling homeowners that stucco cracks are either “within tolerance” or are part of “standard homeowner maintenance,” and that they should just apply caulk and repaint the surface periodically. Recent judgments have been entered against KB Homes and D.R. Horton; however, hundreds of lawsuits are still pending against home builders and developers as the state's Attorney General continues to investigate the issue.

 

Video: What is Causing Stucco Water Damage and What Legal Action can be Pursued

 
 

Is Your Home Affected? If So, What Can You Do?

Unfortunately, water damage is not often apparent until it comes to light in the course of a professional inspection – by which time, the homeowner may be facing repair and rehabilitation costs in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. The stucco must be removed and in most cases, the entire substrate must be replaced.

Alan Garfinkel of the Florida Community Associate Professionals recommends that homeowners have their building's stucco inspected within nine years of occupancy. One reason is that Florida's Statute of Repose runs ten years from the time the owner actually takes possession of the property, or is issued a certificate of occupancy, whichever is later. In the case of a community association (condominiums), the statute of repose runs four years from the time a new board is elected.

Garfinkel also recommends that homeowners get assistance from qualified, experienced engineers and attorneys who can work together to document the claim, giving those impacted the best chance to recover losses.

 
 
Why Choose Us

Our law firm has been in existence for more than 60 years, and is considered a national leader in this type of litigation. We have received well over 150 jury verdicts throughout the country in the amount of $1 million or more, and achieved verdicts and settlements in excess of $4 billion.

We are the founder of Mass Torts Made Perfect, which is a national seminar attended by approximately 800 lawyers twice per year where we help teach the successful handling of cases against the world's largest corporations. For more information, please visit our About Us section.

in business 60 years - $4 billion in verdicts and settlements - listed in Best Lawyers in America, SuperLawyers and Trial Lawyers Hall of Fame
 
What Does It Cost

Our lawyers provide absolutely free confidential consultations, and if we are fortunate enough for you to hire us, we never will charge you any fees or costs unless you first recover. To review a summary of our fees and costs, click Fees & Costs.

 
Contact Information

To contact us for a free confidential consult, you can call us at (800) 277-1193 (toll free). You also can request a confidential consultation by clicking Free & Confidential Consult, which form will be immediately reviewed by one of our attorneys handling the stucco litigation.

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Will My Stucco Claim be Handled as a Class Action

A class action is a type of lawsuit where a few individuals represent the interest of many other individuals. The court rulings are binding on all persons who are considered a member of the class action. All class members are required to accept the settlement approved by the court, even if an individual class member is going to receive little or no compensation.

This is not the type of litigation we will be pursuing for our stucco clients. Instead, we represent each individual based on his/her specific circumstances, and evaluate the recovery for each client based on his/her facts. Each of our clients always has the option of settling or not settling his/her case.

For a detailed discussion on class actions, mass torts, and multidistrict litigation, please visit our Class Action Mass Torts Page.