Industry News

Court upholds home buyers’ waiver of jury trial

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Home buyers who waived their right to a jury trial in their purchase contracts must take their dispute with their builder over alleged construction defects to a judicial referee, a California appellate court has held in Trend Homes Inc. v. Superior Court (Azperren). Trend marks the third time California appellate courts have upheld a provision in which home buyers have waived their right to a jury trial in home builders' contracts; only one appellate court has found such a provision unenforceable. "Courts are so overburdened that they want to uphold any sort of alternative dispute resolution provision," said Karleen M. O'Connor, an attorney with Cox Castle Nicholson in San Francisco, which represented the builder, Trend Homes, "and courts will look favorably on the provisions as long as they seem fair. Now that several California appellate courts have upheld contracts that require judicial reference, it appears it's gaining popularity and will be used more often." The dispute in T...