Archive for November, 2013

Defendants agree to cash settlement in Berkeley co-op suit

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013

Seven current and former directors of a Berkeley senior housing cooperative filed court papers on Wednesday, 20 November, 2013, accepting a proposed compromise on monetary claims in a lawsuit filed against them in March 2012.

Under the compromise, the Alameda County Superior Court would order the defendants to pay $224,415 to Berkeley Town House Cooperative Corporation. In return, co-op member Jonathan Pool, the plaintiff, would agree not to make any additional monetary claims in the case.

In his complaint, Pool made numerous allegations of misconduct against the defendants and sought both injunctive and monetary relief for the corporation. Among other claims, he alleged that defendants had improperly and negligently expended corporate funds for defective construction work at the co-op’s 9-story Berkeley apartment building.

Under the compromise, Pool would have the right to ask the court to order the corporation to reimburse his attorney fees and legal costs.

Filings in the case have named Travelers Property Casualty Company of America as the insurer of the corporation and of its directors and officers during the time of the alleged misconduct.

Contractors agree to settle with Berkeley co-op in construction suit

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013

A flooring contractor in Galt, California, filed court papers on Wednesday, 20 November, 2013, seeking approval of a settlement negotiated with a Danville contractor and a Berkeley senior housing cooperative over claims of defective construction.

Under the settlement, insurers of Esteban Cardiel of Galt, doing business as Cardiel Floor Covering, would pay $199,000, and Garry Secrest of Danville, doing business as American Pacific Coatings, Inc., would pay $25,415, to Berkeley Town House Cooperative Corporation in return for dismissals of the claims by the co-op, Secrest, and Cardiel against one another.

In pleadings filed earlier, one of the co-op’s members had alleged that neither Secrest nor Cardiel had a valid contractor’s license or a local building permit when they performed waterproofing, fencing, and other construction work at the co-op’s building, and that the work they did began failing shortly after completion.

The new pleadings filed on Wednesday revealed that an expert hired to assess the work, Aquatech Consultancy of Novato, had found numerous faults in the work, causing a failure to protect the property from leaks into the subterranean garage and premature deterioration of exterior wood. Aquatech estimated that the work done by Secrest and Cardiel would cost $404,063 to redo properly.

In his request to the Alameda County Superior Court, Cardiel argued that a total payment to the co-op of about one-half the theoretical maximum recovery was fair, because if the claims were litigated Cardiel would have various defenses that might limit or eliminate his liability.

Under the proposed settlement, each party would be responsible for its own attorney fees and legal costs.