COSTA MESA – Rutan & Tucker attorneys Thomas S. Salinger and David H. Hochner have obtained one of the largest known construction-defect settlements ever in California, on a dollars-per-unit basis, in a case involving a high-end oceanfront condominium project in Santa Monica. The $7.1 million settlement was obtained on behalf of the owners’ association of the 31-unit 701 Ocean Avenue building. The main defendant was Edwards Contractors Inc., a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based Tai Cheung Holdings Ltd. The suit centered on damage caused by water leaking into the building’s walls through improperly installed Italian travertine stone exterior wall panels. The more than $225,000 per unit settlement dwarfs most construction defect cases, which rarely amount to more than $40,000 or $50,000 per unit. Salinger said he is happy for his clients that he and Hochner were able to bring the two-year-old case to a conclusion. “Many of the owners at the property are elderly,” said Salinger. “The stress they are experiencing as a result of the problems at the property has cast a pall over what should have been their golden years. No owners should have to endure shoddy construction, and that is what you had here.” Several owners died while the case was pending, Salinger noted. The case was settled with the assistance of Ross Hart, a well-known mediator in the construction field, and Judge Peter Lichtman, who serves on the Los Angeles Superior Court’s Complex Case Panel.