A Seattle Trial Practice Firm
Since 1999, Dan Houser has practiced civil litigation with an emphasis on construction defect, insurance coverage and personal Injury.
"Even though our property was 30 years old (124 condo units) at the time, we won a settlement from both insurance companies that helped us start a 5 million dollar repair project."
Zoe Allen - Eastbridge Condominium Association
Click here to see all twelve of Dan Houser’s five star reviews
When builders cut corners, make mistakes, or move too fast, Houser Law teams with forensic building inspectors to find hidden defects and recover repair costs. The Washington Condominium Act provides purchasers of new condominium units with very strong warranties against construction defects.
But far too many condominium associations lose their warranty rights (and do not recover funds to repair construction defects) by failing to investigate, identify hidden defects, comply with statutory notice requirements, and file suit on time (generally four years from the sale of the first unit, but exceptions may apply). New condominium associations should not wait to investigate.
Houser Law also represents condominium associations and building owners: (1) against manufacturers of defective products such as leaking pipes, and prematurely failing siding, and (2) against contractors who breach their contracts to perform work in compliance with building codes, industry standards, and manufacturers' recommendations.
Modern insurance policies may be hundreds of pages long, and are often filled with dense, technical, and esoteric language. Without expert guidance, valuable claims may be lost. Houser Law has read and analyzed hundreds of insurance policies and is familiar with the policy language of most major insurers in Washington. Houser law will review your files without charge and will accurately describe your claim to trigger coverage under your policies. Through aggressive advocacy, and, if necessary litigation, Houser Law will compel your insurer to investigate and pay covered claims.
Failure to Defend and Settle
If you are sued, then in most cases your liability insurer should defend and attempt to settle the claims against you. Insurers have a broad duty to defend if any allegation could lead to a liability that might be covered. When an insurer fails to defend, a letter from Houser Law may be all that is necessary for the insurer to step up and pay for defense costs. If litigation is necessary then a pre-trial motion may be enough to determine that the insurer has breached its duty to defend. If so, then attorneys' fees may be recoverable from the insurer.
Dan aggressively pursues personal injury cases with empathy and passion. Dan will take on difficult cases where finding adequate insurance coverage requires creativity, discipline, and perseverance.
Recent Case Decisions
Aspen Grove Owners Ass’n v. Park Promenade, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11005
The Washington Condominium Act requires developers to warrant that condominium common elements are free from defects. Any attempt to disclaim warranties for common elements is void and ineffective.
Travelers v. AF Evans, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 188758
Any damage during an insurance policy period triggers coverage for all damage to condominium building from water intrusion over a period of twenty-nine years.
Travelers v. AF Evans, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 134189
Insurer must pay $5.1 million stipulated judgment based on its unreasonable failure to defend the developer of a conversion condominium.
Greenlake Condo. Ass’n v. Allstate, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 184729
Twenty-year-old policy covered the cost of repairing all water damage to condominium building from rainwater intrusion, even if inadequate construction was one of the causes.
Holden Manor Homeowners Ass’n v. Safeco, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 78821
Thirty-two-year-old insurance policy covered the cost of repairing hidden decay at condominium building. Claim was timely if the Association filed suit within one year of exposing the hidden decay.
Eagle Harbour Condo. Ass’n v. Allstate Ins. Co., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54761
Hidden damage to a condominium building from wind-driven rain is covered unless the Association knew that hidden damage was occurring. If some damage occurred during each policy period, then all insurers are jointly liable for the entire cost of repair.
Sunwood Condo Ass’n v. Travelers, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 189892
Sixteen-year-old policy covered unexpected damage to condominium building caused by rainwater intrusion, even if inadequate construction was one of the causes. Insurers are jointly liable for the cost of repairing the entire loss if there was some new damage during the policy period.
Nautica Condo. Owners Ass’n v. Aspen Specialty, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 404
Approving settlement where insurer paid a reasonable share of the cost of repairing progressive water damage to a condominium building.
Disclaimer: The materials available at this web site are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Results in prior cases cannot be relied upon to predict the result in your case. Individual circumstances vary and you should contact Houser Law or another attorney for legal advice regarding your situation
"When Dan and [his] team . . . took on our Insurance Claim litigation I was skeptical to say the least. I’m proud to say that I was proven wrong in ways that far exceed my most wild expectations! Not only did they recover a very good amount of what was needed to complete our remediation, they did a great job of communicating realistic expectations and timelines. This was helpful for our Board as we were trying to move the building design along as we worked through mediation.
Our case was challenging from the stand point that we had over 25 years of Insurance coverage from many different Insurers that required a massive amount of time and effort to sort through. Fortunately for us Dan and his team combed our records thoroughly to get us maximum settlements.
We would not have been able to even begin our remediation without his expertise."
Bellevue Highlands Condominium Association
Over the past 19 years Dan Houser has litigated a broad variety of civil cases, from investigation through appeal. While most cases are successfully settled, when a client wants his or her day in court Dan is a skilled and trusted trial attorney, having tried several complex cases to verdict, including insurance coverage (both first-party property damage and liability coverage cases), breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, and property-damage cases.
After defending companies such as Puget Sound Energy, Dan has found real satisfaction representing plaintiffs. Over the past twelve years Dan has successfully settled dozens of cases for condominium associations faced with major repairs due to defective construction, defective building components, and/or water intrusion. Where insurers refuse to defend or settle, Dan has extensive experience taking stipulated judgments and pursuing assigned claims for insurance bad faith. While this process requires specialized knowledge and multiple lawsuits, it can lead to large recoveries in otherwise difficult cases.
Dan has also successfully pursued and resolved cases involving fraudulent transfers and consumer-protection-act violations.
In 2012, Dan was the first to recognize that the Washington State Supreme Court's decision in Vision One, LLC v. Philadelphia Indem. Ins. Co., 174 Wn.2d 501 (2012) could allow building owners to recover insurance funds to pay for repairs of hidden water damage. Since then Dan has successfully prosecuted numerous claims for hidden water damage to older buildings. In 2015, Dan won an important victory in Greenlake Condo. Ass’n v. Allstate, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 184729 which interpreted a twenty-year-old policy to cover the cost of repairing all hidden water damage to a condominium building from rainwater intrusion, even if inadequate construction was one of the causes.
Throughout client communications, depositions, mediation, jury trial, and appeal Dan advocates for his clients with integrity, strength and good humor. Dan graduated from Seattle Pacific University with a degree in Philosophy in 1995 and the University of Southern California in 1999. He was Editor-in-Chief of the USC Interdisciplinary Law Journal. Dan is licensed to practice law in Washington and California.
Dan meets with potential clients to explain potential claims and reviews documents to identify insurance coverage without charge.
J.D., University of Southern California, 1996-1999
Editor-in-Chief, Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Review, 1998-1999
B.A., (Philosophy), Seattle Pacific University, cum laude, 1995
King County Bar Association
Washington State Bar Association
State Bar of California
How to use insurance funds to repair damage to older buildings
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is your fee structure?
Houser Law works either on a contingent-fee basis or on an hourly basis. Under a contingent fee agreement there is no charge unless, and until, Houser Law recovers funds for our clients.
What is a construction defect, and how do I know if my building has construction defects?
A construction defect may be a defective product, or it may be a contractor’s failure to comply with the building code, the construction plans, or industry standards. Common defects include errors in the installation of flashing and weather resistive barrier. Most defects are hidden and are identified by expert investigation. Over time, unrepaired defects can lead to hidden damage and very expensive repairs.
My insurance claim was denied. Now what?
Houser Law will review your claim, your insurance policies, and any other relevant documents and provide preliminary thoughts as to whether or not the claim is worth pursuing. This initial review is free.
How do I know if I need a lawyer?
If you have been injured, if you may want to investigate your building for hidden damage, or if you have already discovered hidden damage to your building, then please give us a call. We are happy to talk about potential claims and provide preliminary thoughts without charge.