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The walls came tumbling down

We're fortunate to live in Florida. Our beaches, resorts, golf courses and sunshine make this a destination nearly everyone wants to move to or visit. Folks in Reno, Nevada, are similarly blessed to live where nature's beauty is on display from Lake Tahoe to the nearby mountains.

While the residents of Somersett, a planned community just outside of Reno, get to enjoy a combination of natural and manmade charms, they are also dealing with dangerous and expensive construction defects that cast a pall over the otherwise idyllic setting.

Two years ago, a heavy winter storm hit the area. Parts of its many rockery walls failed, the Somersett Owners Association says. While apparently no one was hurt when the walls collapsed and large rocks wound up on the community's popular golf course, the cost of fixing the defects has been estimated at a whopping $20 million.

The owners association says all 70,000 feet of its flawed rock walls (about 13 miles) need to be replaced. An analysis of the walls was done by an engineering consulting firm. The analysis did not mince words: "Each of the rockery walls observed has pervasive construction-related defects."

All of the community's walls were found to be below the minimum safety standards for load-bearing strength, the consulting firm found.

Unsurprisingly, the homeowners association has filed a construction defects lawsuit. Just as unsurprisingly, the developer, contractor and the wall-design firm have all denied liability.

No one knows yet how the litigation will be resolved, but we do know that in order to protect your property and rights in disputes over construction defects, you must have on your side an attorney experienced in construction defect litigation.

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