Bonapart & Associates Law and Mediation: Practical Solutions for an Impractical World

Verdicts and Settlements


SETTLEMENT RESULT: $75,000 to plaintiffs for damages. Defendant eventually agreed to ADR and after multiple mediation sessions and post-mediation negotiations, the parties settled their dispute..

CASE: Pittaro v. TM Landscapes Inc. DOCKET NUMBER: CIV518329

SETTLEMENT DATE: December 6, 2013

ATTORNEYS:Plaintiff- Barri Kaplan Bonapart (Bonapart & Associates, Sausalito)
Defendants - Michael R. Reynold, (Rankin, Sproat, Mires, Beaty & Reynolds, Oakland, CA);
Joseph Sweeny, Sweeny, Mason, (Wilson & Bosomworth, Los Gatos, CA)

FACTS & CONTENTIONS: Plaintiff Richard and Margaret Pittaro hired defendant TM Landscapes Inc. to do a high-end landscaping project at their home that was to include construction of a new patio, a planting scheme and repair/replacement of a failed drainage system.. Plaintiffs claimed defendant's work was performed improperly, not according to agreed upon specifications and in violation
of applicable building codes. Plaintiffs claimed that due to multiple defects in the workmanship including cracks in the patio and inadequate drainage, among other things, they suffered damage that could only be fixed by repairing and replacing much of the work that was performed by defendant. Plaintiffs claimed they attempted to have defendant "make it right" on multiple occasions but they were ignored.
Plaintiffs filed a lawsuit after defendant refused to engage in any form of alternative dispute resolution.

EXPERT TESTIMONY: According to Plaintiff: Plaintiffs' expert Michelucci & Associates inspected and studied the site in October 2011 and March 2012. They studied and tested the drainage, dug test pits beneath the kitchen floor and at critical locations around the exterior of the property. In June 2012, Michelucci & Associates prepared a report summarizing their findings. They concluded that a new sub drain needed to be installed around the entire residence and as close to the foundation as possible, new surface area drains and surface inlets needed to be installed to address the surface drainage issues. They also concluded that there was no geotechnical reason to warrant the patio cracking and that the cracking was a result of the multi-day delay between the pour and the installation of the expansion joints, that there were no joints installed in the walkway and the joints were not deep enough. Plaintiffs' expert Posard Broek & Associates inspected the property and work performed by defendant and provided consulting services to plaintiffs regarding the improper work, causes of damages and proposed repair and remediation.


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