San Diego Partners Bob Carlson and Scott Davis
Thwart Class Action on Behalf of Builder Client
The plaintiff in a lawsuit pending in Los Angeles County sought certification of a class that would have included the residents and occupants of at least 85 apartments located across the street from an ongoing commercial construction project in Los Angeles’ Fashion District. The plaintiff alleged that KNCH’s builder client and others created so much noise, dust, and light through their construction operations—including during off hours forbidden by city regulations—so as to constitute a “nuisance” that interfered with their quiet enjoyment of their property. The plaintiff also sought class certification for his claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The defense successfully argued that the plaintiff’s claims were ill-suited to class treatment based on the lack of an identifiable class and the lack of ‘commonality’ and ‘typicality’ of their claims, which would essentially require mini trials for each class member’s specific claims and damages. The trial judge agreed with the defense that the would-be class representative’s unique sensibilities and claimed injuries, which allegedly included sleep and work interruptions so severe that he was required to attend therapy, were specific to him and could not be assumed to be representative of an entire class.
The result is a big win for KNCH’s client, who is now defending the lawsuit against a single plaintiff instead of more than one hundred.