Rockery Wall Litigation Update (3)

This website last published an update on the Rockery Wall lawsuit on August 29, 2018, which may be accessed via the following link:   Rockery Wall Litigation Update (2)

What has occurred since then? The following obtained from recently filed Washoe County District Court Documents (Case No. CV17-02427).

Recently Filed Court Documents by Date

  • August 29, 2018 – A “Third Party Complaint” brought by Somersett Development Company (SDC) against Stantec Consulting Inc. on the basis that the Somersett Owners Association’s (SOA) Chapter 40 lawsuit against SDC implicated work performed by Stantec as a third party contractor, hence SDC’s allegations and claims for relief from Stantec. Stantec filed their response on August 30th admitting they performed “certain observation and testing tasks” for SDC but denied that “it was a developer, contractor, subcontractor or design professional performing any design work related to the rock walls”. Stantec also claims that the SOA’s litigation is not valid because of applicable statutes of repose & limitations and that the SOA failed to get a majority vote of its members to commence the litigation.

Note: A third-party complaint is a claim asserted by a defendant in a lawsuit against a party who is or may be liable to the defendant for all or part of a plaintiffs claim against the defendant. Claim would be dropped if the defendant wins the litigation and is not found liable for any damages.

  • September 11, 2018 – An “Order Exempting Case from Court Arbitration Program” issued by the Court. Lawsuit is exempted from arbitration on the basis of complexity and damage amount.
  • September 25, 2018 – A “Pretrial Order” under which the Court stipulated procedures relating to Trial Setting Dates, Pretrial Conferences, Discovery, Settlement and Alternative Dispute Resolution, Trial Related, and Miscellaneous items. A Pre-Trial Conference was subsequently scheduled for January 10, 2020 and the Jury Trial for February 3, 2020. In the Joint Conference Report referenced below, all parties estimated a trial duration of 15-21 days.
  • October 17, 2018 – A “Joint Case Conference Report”, affirmed by all parties, which addressed the following topics: 1) a timeline of court filings, 2) brief descriptions of the SOA’s claim for damages and defendant (i.e., Somersett Development Company, Q&D Construction, Parsons Bros Rockeries) responses thereto. 3) a listing of documents, data compilations, etc. (via exhibits), previously disclosed by plaintiff and defendants, 4) a listing of persons (via exhibits) with potential discoverable information, 5) a Discovery Plan under which two phases are proposed, one to address statutes of limitations/repose and one to address the alleged rockery wall defects. 6) proposed discovery and motion dates agreed to by parties, which range from February 2019 for statutes of limitation/repose discovery to December 2019 for close of all discovery.

Note: For those interested in the Joint Case Conference Report details, a copy (minus the Exhibits referenced therein) may be accessed via the following Link:    Joint Case Conference Report

Legal Fees Update

The Legal expenses incurred by the SOA for the Rockery Wall lawsuit totaled $154K through September 2018 (i.e., $44K in 2017 and $110K in 2018). The SOA”s recently approved 2019 Operating Budget projected $300K for 2018 (zero included in the original 2018 budget) and $200K for 2019. Giving a three-year (2017-2019) estimated total of $540K. This does not cover 2020 when the trial date (i.e., February 2020) is currently scheduled.

4 thoughts on “Rockery Wall Litigation Update (3)

  1. When is the next meeting to vote on whether to go forward with this lawsuit? From what I’ve been reading, this lawsuit is a long shot.

    1. Laurie,

      There is no planned meeting to vote on the lawsuit. The SOA Board voted to proceed with the lawsuit based on the limited returns received from previous owner ballots. This itself is in contention. For background info, access the Archives and go to previous SU posts of May 4th “Rockery Wall Lawsuit – Authority to Proceed?” and June 30th “Rockery Wall Lawsuit NRED Intervention”


  2. We’re budgeted to spend a half million dollars on bottom feeders before we even go to trial!? Looks like we have a 50/50 chance of winning and maybe even less of collecting. Any good developer sets up a construction corporation which is shut down and liquidated soon after the project is complete. Tough to collect from a liquidated entity. The suit against Q&D will probably be ruled frivolous – they did the grading to spec but had no part in the actual construction.

  3. I agree with Dusty that most builders and developers have the bankruptcy option for protection against a “bad” judgement. However, all the parties had some kind of business insurance at the time of the construction… the question of time after construction is the issue. One could argue as most of the assets of the SOA are being depreciated over a 20 to 40 year period under Nevada law, that there should be some relief when failure occurs within that window.

    On looking through the budget/audit (and 2018 results) – now easy to access as FRS now provide a click through link (that works) – It is difficult to find how the Walls have been valued and depreciated – there should be some ‘top line’ explanation given the potential financial liability to our community (and private walls on home sites).

    The wall failures (at least on the CGC) were caused by soil liquefaction caused by a 100 year rain storm. However, one cannot overlook the continual watering by the SGCC (2003 through 2017) of desert soils to make the grass go green. Other walls in other parts of the community have been built, after terra-forming (see Village 6), in the largely un-watered desert. Perhaps we should be looking to FEMA for help to stop the walls from tumbling… after all rocky walls (and cliffs) along US highways rely on Federal disaster funds for fixing after, extreme weather events.

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