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New Cases of Interest - April 30, 2013
Centex Homes v. Superior Court (2013) 214 Cal.App.4th 1090. This was a case in which a builder sought leave to file a cross-complaint containing claims for both equitable indemnity and partial equitable indemnity in response to a construction defect lawsuit by a homeowners association. The homeowners' complaint alleged violations of certain specific building standards, but none of those related to plumbing or sewer systems. The homeowners association however had alleged plumbing and sewer defects in its prelitigation notice under Civil Code §910. About a year after receiving the prelitigation notice, the contractor presented a claim to the city in which the homes were built asserting that a defect in the city's sewer system had affected the waste line installed by the builder. The city denied the claim as untimely. After the builder had filed its proposed cross-complaint, the homeowners association then filed an amended complaint alleging that the waste line was defective.
The court of appeal issued a preemptory writ of mandate finding that the builder's equitable indemnity claim as presented to the city was timely because the claim did not accrue until service of the amended complaint by the homeowners association. A prelitigation notice the court held was not the equivalent of a complaint, and thus did not cause the accrual of the claim at an earlier date.