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Nevada Would “Stand Alone” on Strict Limits for Construction Defects

April 16, 2009

Carson City, NV – Legal experts are criticizing a new measure being debated by Nevada lawmakers that would put the strictest limits in the nation on homeowners who wish to sue for faulty construction. Senate Bill 349 won committee approval and now moves to the full Senate. It is supported by builders who argue the new law would reduce frivolous lawsuits and exorbitant legal fees, while critics believe it would unfairly restrict homeowners' rights.

Nevada construction defect attorney Scott Canepa opposes the bill, saying it would limit civil enforcement of building code violations in the state to only those violations that risk harm to homeowners or their houses.

"In every other state in the country, if you have a code violation, you have a right to get it fixed. You don’t have to wait to suffer personal injury or for some immediate risk of harm to you. But, in Nevada, we’d stand alone in that regard."

In addition to putting limits on when homeowners can sue, Canepa says lawmakers are also cutting fee reimbursements; a move he predicts will hurt homeowners.

"That means every homeowner who was sold a defective residence - and there have been thousands and thousands of those over the years here in Las Vegas - will always, in every case, be left without enough money to fix their house. None of them are going to have the right to get reimbursement of attorney’s fees."

In the face of opposition from builders and contractors, Canepa says the measure goes too far, and would leave thousands of Nevadans with faulty homes and no legal recourse.

A second measure (SB337) would cut in half the amount of time a homeowner has to file a claim. Both bills are expected to reach the full Senate by next week.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NV