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Lewis Brisbois Attorney Angela L. Cooner Co-Drafts Comprehensive Construction Liability Bill

Phoenix, Ariz. (April 11, 2019) – Lewis Brisbois is pleased to announce that a new residential construction defect liability bill, co-written by Phoenix Attorney Angela L. Cooner, has been signed into law by Governor Doug Ducey.

Ms. Cooner is the chair of the Technical Advisory Committee for Arizonans for Fair Contracting (AFC), and has worked for several years to address issues facing Arizona contactors. Following the real estate boom of the mid-2000s, contractors have struggled with rampant construction defect litigation, skyrocketing insurance costs, and disproportionate liability between subcontractors. The bill that Ms. Cooner co-drafted addressed these issues.

Ms. Cooner, alongside AFC’s lobbyists and Senate President Karen Fann, spearheaded two years of legislative hearings and stakeholder meetings with several national homebuilders and local subcontractor associations. This landmark bill was signed on April 10, 2019, by Governor Ducey and will change the landscape of construction defect litigation in Arizona. The new law is designed to discourage frivolous claims; ensure liability of each party is proportionate to their respective fault; and in turn, make Arizona’s construction insurance marketplace more competitive.

Specifically, the new law amends the Purchaser Dwelling Act (Arizona’s Right to Cure Statute) and the Arizona residential indemnification statute. The new law streamlines the process for resolution of construction defect claims by:

  • Involving the subcontractor in the repair process at the outset of claims;
  • Bifurcating construction defect cases to dismiss claims without merit;
  • Releasing parties without fault; and
  • Establishing proportional liability for homebuilders and subcontractors by prohibiting broad form and limited contractual indemnity agreements.

In the coming months, Ms. Cooner will present on the effects of the new law and best practices for maneuvering through the new processes.

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