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The city argued the powerline installer was responsible for the pavement cracks, but the case wasn’t built on firm ground

A large-scale desert single family subdivision development was the site of a recent construction defect investigation. The developer’s insurer needed to defend one of their subcontractors against a large claim brought forth by the local municipality. The subcontractor was the underground electric installer, and the city was seeking $20MM to re-pave the entire subdivision.


Immediately upon notification by the carrier’s designated law firm that forensic expertise was needed, one of Guardian’s engineering experts made his way to the subject property. There, he discovered and photographed widespread damage throughout the subdivision including cracked roads and sidewalks. He also reviewed site plans and other project documents relating to the installation of the underground electric as well as other utilities. The expert also consulted historical geological references to better understand the soil types at play.


As he suspected, the soil type and soil conditions at the subdivision were prone to shrinking and swelling. This coincided with the type of cracking observed at the site which was random and consistent throughout the complex. Had the pavement cracks been related to the underground utility trenches, experience dictates the cracks would have appeared as two parallel lines mirroring the trench below. Once opposing counsel saw what they were up against, the case quickly settled for a minor sum with regard to the underground electric subcontractor, a token amount in contrast to the $20MM originally sought.


Guardian, now operating as a division of YA Group, provides insurance carriers and their law firms the forensic investigations and litigation support they need to resolve their cases expeditiously. Together, Guardian and YA Group’s unparalleled nationwide network of construction defect experts means regardless of the defect type, size or complexity, savvy case strategy starts here. For rapid response, pragmatic counsel, and clear communication, kindly call on our proven team of experts today.

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