During a hearing this week on a Nevada construction defect reform bill, Terry Riedy, a Las Vegas personal injury lawyer, admitted to his firm taking more than $200 million in attorneys’ fees in construction defect lawsuits. The sole opponent to testify against the reform bill, Riedy said his firm has generated about $700 million in judgments and settlements on construction defect cases alone. More than a quarter of that amount has gone directly to the firm in the form of attorney’s fees.
Riedy’s firm isn’t the only one taking home big checks. Nevada’s process for resolving construction defect disputes is rife with financial incentives for lawyers to seek new customers and drag out the litigation process. It’s no surprise that the number of construction defect cases in Nevada is 38 times higher than the national average.
Last month we produced a report showing how much money this same group of lawyers contributed to political campaigns in 2014. The results were astonishing, and presented clear evidence of these lawyers attempting to stack the deck in their favor. Riedy’s firm, for example, gave $75,000 to the Citizens for Justice PAC, which was a major donor to the same people who oppose any reforms to Chapter 40.
Construction defect lawyers will do just about anything they can to get more of these cases that fill their pockets with multi-million dollar judgments. Nevada homeowners are constantly solicited by defect attorneys looking for their next payday. In fact, Riedy admitted during the hearing that he was in the minority of defect lawyers because he doesn’t solicit homeowners for construction defect cases.
The cycle of lawsuit abuse will continue to plague the state of Nevada if the Legislature doesn’t do something to stop it. AB 125 is the first step to repairing the broken system. By fixing construction defect and eliminating the “sue-first” mentality, Nevada homeowners will have a more commonsense approach to getting their defect issues resolved promptly and fairly. It’s time to fight back against trial lawyer influence and put an end to construction defect lawsuit abuse. AB 125 is the Nevada Legislature’s opportunity to fix the highly abusive Chapter 40 law and help bring Nevada’s civil justice system back in to the mainstream with the rest of the Nation on this issue.