Damages Experts In Construction Defect Cases - You Need Two


Some confusion has arisen in construction defect cases as to the proper measure of damages and evidence needed to prove them. The two competing theories for measure of damages are: 1) the cost of repair or restoration; and 2) the diminution in value of the property resulting from the defect. The Kentucky Courts answer the question by stating that the measure of damages is the cost of remedying the defect as long as it is reasonable to do so or the diminution in the value of the building by reason of the defect, in the alternative.

Simply put, the cost of repair is "unreasonable" if it exceeds the loss in value to the property caused by the defect. The methodology for calculating those damages implicates two types of expert witness testimony: 1) an expert for determining the cost of repair; and 2) an expert for determining the diminution in value to the property.

Despite this framework, litigants often attempt to get by with only one expert or the other. This risks an adverse verdict on damages. The Kentucky Supreme Court has moderately reduced that risk by holding that evidence of the cost of repair creates a reasonable inference that the market value of the property has been diminished by that precise amount.

It is recommended that plaintiffs in construction defect cases retain experts for both cost of repair and diminution in market value.

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