COSTA MESA – A state appellate court has upheld the verdict and award of $7.2 million to the owners of two Malibu homes destroyed in a 1998 landslide caused by the actions of the county and its flood control district. In 2000, a jury found the county and the district negligent for diverting storm runoff down a creek near the homes, eroding the toe of the slope and causing the landslide. One of the owners, Scottish-born carpenter Jack Martin and his wife, Lynne — who had built their home themselves over two decades — was awarded $2.8 million by the jury. “Theirs was a real tragic case,” said Thomas S. Salinger, a litigation partner at Rutan & Tucker and the lead counsel on the case. “They had put their hearts and soul into their house.” The other owner, Newport Beach-based Downey Savings and Loan, was awarded $1.9 million. The county and district appealed the trial court verdict. Last week, the Second District Court of Appeal unanimously upheld the trial court decision across the board. With attorney’s fees and post-judgment interest, the total award now stands at more than $7.2 million, said Salinger. “The money won’t replace the loss of the Martins’ dream home, but it will make a difference in their lives,” Salinger said. Also working on the case were Rutan & Tucker attorneys Steven Goon and Seth Hanson. Matt Ross, who recently left the firm, also worked on the appeal.