As those costs have been passed on to new home buyers, housing affordability has suffered, he said, which is bad for the state’s economy because housing is currently its only growing industry.
House Bill 92:
- Limits punitive damages to three times the amount of economic damages or $250,000, whichever is greater
- Limits the amount of non-economic damages plaintiffs can collect to $250,000
- Raises the burden of proof for punitive damages
While the law seems like only common sense to business owners, it was strongly contested by the state’s trial lawyers association. They warned it would deny just compensation to victims. Eaton said that many of the state legislators called this the toughest battle they had ever fought.
On the association’s other legislative priority — giving builders the chance to repair construction defects before being hauled into court — he new reform measure should reduce insurance losses, reduce the cost of general liability insurance and eventually make housing more affordable.
Idaho’s “notice and opportunity” to repair bill is based on NAHB model legislation and is similar to laws already passed in Arizona, California, Kansas, Kentucky, Nevada, Texas, Washington and West Virginia.
The bill was sponsored by Rep. Lee Gagner (R-Idaho Falls), a builder-developer and member of NAHB, and by Sen. John Goedde (R-Coeur d’Alene), an independent insurance agent.
The Idaho builders association is now shifting its focus to education. The group is planning an information campaign to teach its members and the public about the new construction defect resolution process.
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