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Civil Plaintiff

The Strongin Law Firm Wins 5-Year-Long Fight Against the Irvine Company Exposing Its Deceptive Practices

The Irvine Company, and its LLC, Antivo Los Olivos, took it personally when its former tenant, Nic Yavelak, made a claim against it after discovering that the Irvine Company allowed hidden mold to grow behind cabinets and within the HVAC closet in his apartment for several months before he discovered the problem. The Irvine Company lawyers argued that the leak that caused the mold growth in the apartment happened in June 2018, and that the Irvine Company acted promptly in response to the June leak from the apartment above.

However, Strongin, LLP lawyers Eric Strongin and Kseniya Stupak argued to the jury that The Irvine Company failed to follow industry standards for remediation in January, and they moved a new tenant into a contaminated apartment, with hidden black mold, without disclosing the prior flood or remediation.

Although the Irvine Company was aware of the industrywide standards for mold remediation, as published by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (“IICRC”) in its S520 guidelines, Strongin, LLP lawyers Eric Strongin and Kseniya Stupak, pointed out that the Irvine Company’s failure to follow industry guidelines during a January mold and flood incident in January of 2018, before Nic Yavelak moved in, was the reason that Nic Yavelak became ill, and had to move out. Strongin and Stupak also argued that the Irvine Company used unlicensed and uncertified individuals, with minimal training, to conduct the January 2018 remediation. Instead, the Irvine Communities developed its own remediation guidelines which sidestepped those of the ICRC, although they claim that their guidelines are loosely based on the national standards. However, the Irvine Company did not list what those guidelines were, failed to document any of the January 2018 remediation, because their own standards did not require it (differing from the IICRC standard which requires documentation prior to, during and after remediation), and then certified the apartment was fully remediated based on only a visual inspection of one of their employees.

An Orange County agreed that the Irvine Company was negligent and breached California’s implied warranty of habitability by awarding the tenant $423,000 after the Irvine Company offered $0 to resolve the matter at the start of trial. The Strongin law firm anticipates that the total judgment will be well in excess of $500,000 because the verdict was over a pre-trial offer of $175,000 (under Code of Civil Procedure section 998). Thus, in addition to statutory costs, the Irvine Company will need to pay for the cost of the expert witnesses hired by the plaintiff.

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