MICHAEL PANISH

EXPERT WITNESS
HOUSING TRACT DEFECTS

CLASS ACTION LAWSUITS

All Construction Trades
Inspection – Assessment – Cost Analysis

PLAINTIFF – DEFENSE – CROSS DEFENSE (Subcontractors)

Working for homeowners as Plaintiffs' construction expert witness in many housing tract defect class action suits has given Mike Panish invaluable insight into the potential issues that can and have occurred in large housing developments. Having also been retained as the Defense construction expert witness and Cross Defendants' construction expert witness has shown that not all claims are as they appear to be. Being neutral in his assessments of homeowners' claims and developer's responses often allows Mike to be of significant assistance to both sides of these issues, and get excellent results.

When many tract development class action lawsuits are filed the first line of defense of any developer is to file a claim against the many independent subcontractors that worked on their development project. While this may be valid and justified for some cases, in many cases some subcontractors are unfairly drawn into these actions and become the targets of unrealistic defense claims. Mike Panish has been retained as construction expert witness by insurance carriers of the subcontractors required to tender defense on behalf of the general contractor. It has been frequently discovered that the responsibility of the individual subcontractor in the class action pending claim is minimal. The subcontrctor's participation in the cost of defense is often inappropriate and far in excess of any of the subcontractor's alleged shared responsibilities. This has led to counter actions being filed by the insuring parties to recoup the losses sustained by the improper inclusion of their insured clients and the alleged cost of defense required. Mike has been responsible for finding key elements of these lawsuits, and his findings have led to successful summary judgments in favor of the subcontractors.

While every claim is different, real estate trends and current market value of homeowners' property has seen many law firms initiate class actions against developers for questionable and sometimes ludicrous problems. In one claim where Mike was retained by the developer to help mediate the issue, the current valuation of the property was cited as not being commensurate with the quality of the finish improvements. For example, when the homes were originally put on the market for sale, the purchase prices of the homes were in the low $100,000 range. But, due to increase in the housing market, the value at the time of the claim was based on home sales prices in the $500,000 range. The homeowners would simply not accept the fact that they had bought a home that was originally priced at 20% of what the current valuation was. Mike clearly stated and explained after his evaluation that the interior improvements were made to be appropriate to the original valuation of the home. The cabinets did not improve or appreciate in value with the increased price of the home, and were meant for the original purchase point. In an opposite case, when a $500,000 home can now be purchased for 20% of the original higher purchase price, the quality of the improvements do not change into a lesser product and a better value for the money is possible. Reasonable common sense needs to be exercised in some of these class action claims. It is not responsible to think that a developer can adjust the value of the product that was sold in the past to reflect the current market situation whether it is up or down in valuation.

Mike Panish's designation as construction expert witness in many tract development claims and disputes has assisted developers, subcontractors, homeowners associations, and many insurance companies in evaluating, quantifying, and determining specific responsibility. He has been equally effective and decisively unbiased in his examination of the validity of the claims. Mike Panish has been called one of the most knowledgeable experts in this field. Mike has proven to be invaluable in resolving class action housing tract construction claims. He has always achieved excellent results for his clients whether they are Plaintiff, Defense, or Cross-Defense.