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THOUSAND OAKS : Homeowners Win $708,000 in Suit

A Los Angeles County Superior Court jury has awarded $708,000 to four Thousand Oaks families who accused a builder and grading company of constructing faulty homes.

The suit filed in August, 1987, accused the McDay Corp. of Santa Monica and Granite Construction Co. of Watsonville of negligence in failing to ensure that soil under the homes was stable enough to build the houses.

On Tuesday, the jury ordered the firms to pay for the cost of structuraldamages that occurred when the soil settled. The houses are located in the 400 and 500 blocks of Citation Way.

The award came after years of trying to settle out of court, said Ron Schlager, an attorney who represented the four families. He said the homeowners originally wanted their houses fixed, but the companies refused.

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The 34 homes in the tract known as Equestria Trails were completed in 1978. But problems were not discovered until the mid-1980s, when cracks began to appear in the walls and floors.

McDay attorney Melvin H. Malat said the company was not to blame for the damage. It depended on the grading company to make sure the soil was stable enough to build on, he said.

Despite the award, at least one homeowner said she and her husband would not be able to fix their house.

Grace Hass received $166,000 of the award, but she said that will not be enough to pay for the repairs. One corner of a family room has sunk about seven inches, and there are cracks as wide as half an inch in every room.

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“I love this house,” she said. “None of us have gotten enough to fix up our homes. I won the battle but lost the war.”


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