CALDERON PROCESS & TIME LIMITS

PRELITIGATION "CALDERON PROCESS" IN CALIFORNIA

*Assembly Bill 805, which became operative on January 1, 2014, repealed Section 1375 and substituted Section 6000 in its place.

Overview of the Calderon Process 

Under the new Calderon Process, a homeowners' association must serve upon the respondent (usually the developer) a "Notice of Commencement of Legal Proceeding." The respondent must take specified actions within 60 days of receipt of that notice. Subcontractors and insurers are brought into the process. The parties must exchange records. The property must be made available for inspection. The parties must meet and confer in an effort to select a dispute resolution facilitator. Formal dispute resolution sessions must take place. The dispute resolution period runs for 180 days, or twice as long as the period under the original Calderon legislation. The new statutory requirements are detailed in the following sections.

A construction defect claim brought by an association with more than 20 units that was built before January 1, 2004, is subject to the Calderon process (California Civil Code Section 6000).

Time Limits

10 years

  • From the date of substantial completion (California Code of Civil Procedure Section 337.15)
  • The 10-year period shall commence no later than the date of one of the following, whichever is first:
    • the date of final inspection by the applicable public agency.
    • the date of recordation of a valid notice of completion.
    • the date of use or occupation
    • one year after termination of work on the improvement

3 years

From the date the board discovered each defect (California Code of Civil Procedure Section 338)

4 years

For defects apparent by reasonable inspection(California Code of Civil Procedure Section 337.1)

Calderon Definitions 

According to Civil Code §6000(p), the following definitions apply to §6000:

  • "Association" shall have the same meaning as defined in §4080.
  • "Builder" means the declarant, as defined in §4130
  • "Common interest development" shall have the same meaning as in §4100, except that it shall not include developments or projects with less than 20 units.

The Calderon Step 

Before an association files a complaint for damages against a builder, developer, or general contractor (respondent) of a common interest development based upon a claim for defects in the design or construction of the common interest development, all of the requirements of Civil Code §6000 shall be satisfied with respect to the builder, developer, or general contractor. Civil Code §6000(a).

[1] Notice to Respondent 

The association shall serve upon the respondent a "Notice of Commencement of Legal Proceeding," pursuant to Civil Code §6000(b). The notice shall be served by certified mail to the registered agent of the respondent, or if there is no registered agent, then to any officer of the respondent. If there are no current officers of the respondent, service shall be upon the person or entity otherwise authorized by law to receive service of process. Service upon the general contractor shall be sufficient to initiate the process set forth in this section with regard to any builder or developer, if the builder or developer is not amenable to service of process by the foregoing methods. This notice shall toll all applicable statutes of limitation and repose, whether contractual or statutory, by and against all potentially responsible parties, regardless of whether they were named in the notice, including claims for indemnity applicable to the claim for the period set forth in subdivision (c). 

The notice shall include all of the following:

  • The name and location of the project.
  • An initial list of defects sufficient to apprise the respondent of the general nature of the defects at issue.
  • A description of the results of the defects, if known.
  • A summary of the results of a survey or questionnaire distributed to homeowners to determine the nature and extent of defects, if a survey has been conducted or a questionnaire has been distributed.
  • Either a summary of the results of testing conducted to determine the nature and extent of defects or the actual test results, if that testing has been conducted.

[2] 180-Day Dispute Resolution Period 

Service of the notice shall commence a period, not to exceed 180 days, during which the association, the respondent, and all other participating parties shall try to resolve the dispute through the processes set forth in §6000. This 180-day period may be extended for one additional period, not to exceed 180 days, only upon the mutual agreement of the association, the respondent, and any parties not deemed peripheral pursuant to paragraph (3) of subdivision (e). Any extensions beyond the first extension shall require the agreement of all participating parties. Unless extended, the dispute resolution process prescribed by this section shall be deemed completed. All extensions shall continue the tolling period described in subdivision (b). Civil Code §6000(c).

[3] Respondents Meet and Confer with Association 

Within 25 days of the date the association serves the Notice of Commencement of Legal Proceedings, the respondent may request in writing to meet and confer with the board of directors of the association. Unless the respondent and the association otherwise agree, there shall be not more than one meeting, which shall take place no later than 10 days from the date of the respondent's written request, at a mutually agreeable time and place. The meeting shall be subject to subdivision (b) of Civil Code §1363.05. The discussions at the meeting are privileged communications and are not admissible in evidence in any civil action, unless the association and the respondent consent in writing to their admission. Civil Code §6000(d).

[4] Parties' Duties After Receipt of Notice 

Upon receipt of the notice, the respondent shall, within 60 days, comply with the following:

(1) The respondent shall provide the association with access to, for inspection and copying, all plans and specifications, subcontracts, and other construction files for the project that are reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence regarding the defects claimed. The association shall provide the respondent with access to, for inspection and copying, all files reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence regarding the defects claimed, including all reserve studies, maintenance records and any survey questionnaires, or results of testing to determine the nature and extent of defects. To the extent any of the above documents are withheld based on privilege, a privilege log shall be prepared and submitted to all other parties. All other potentially responsible parties shall have the same rights as the respondent regarding the production of documents upon receipt of written notice of the claim, and shall produce all relevant documents within 60 days of receipt of the notice of the claim.

(2) The respondent shall provide written notice by certified mail to all subcontractors, design professionals, their insurers, and the insurers of any additional insured whose identity is known to the respondent or readily ascertainable by review of the project files or other similar sources and whose potential responsibility appears on the face of the notice. This notice to subcontractors, design professionals and insurers shall include a copy of the Notice of Commencement of Legal Proceeding, and shall specify the date and manner by which the parties shall meet and confer to select a dispute resolution facilitator pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (f), advise the recipient of its obligation to participate in the meet and confer or serve a written acknowledgment of receipt regarding this notice, advise the recipient that it will waive any challenge to selection of the dispute resolution facilitator if it elects not to participate in the meet and confer, advise the recipient that it may be bound by any settlement reached pursuant to subdivision (d) of §6000, advise the recipient that it may be deemed to have waived rights to conduct inspections and testing pursuant to subdivision (c) of §6000, advise the recipient that it may seek the assistance of an attorney, and advise the recipient that it should contact its insurer, if any. Any subcontractor or design professional, or insurer for that subcontractor, design professional, or additional insured, who receives written notice from the respondent regarding the meet and confer shall, prior to the meet and confer, serve on the respondent a written acknowledgment of receipt. 

Civil Code §6000(e)(1).

[5] Duties of Subcontractors and Design Professionals 

Each subcontractor or design professional shall, within 10 days of service of the written acknowledgment of receipt, provide to the association and the respondent a Statement of Insurance that includes both of the following:

(A) The names, addresses, and contact persons, if known, of all insurance carriers, whether primary or excess and regardless of whether a deductible or self-insured retention applies, whose policies were in effect from the commencement of construction of the subject project to the present and potentially cover the subject claims.

(B) The applicable policy numbers for each such policy of insurance. 

Civil Code §6000(e)(2).

[6] Request for Designation as Peripheral Party 

Any subcontractor or design professional, or insurer for that subcontractor, design professional, or additional insured, who so chooses, may, at any time, make a written request to the dispute resolution facility for designation as a peripheral party. That request shall be served contemporaneously on the association and the respondent. If no objection to that designation is received within 15 days, or upon rejection of that objection, the dispute resolution facilitator shall designate that subcontractor or design professional as a peripheral party, and shall thereafter seek to limit the attendance of that subcontractor or design professional only to those dispute resolution sessions deemed peripheral party sessions or to those sessions during which the dispute resolution facilitator believes settlement as to peripheral parties may be finalized. Nothing in this subdivision shall preclude a party who has been designated a peripheral party from being reclassified as a nonperipheral party, nor shall this subdivision preclude a party designated as a nonperipheral party from being reclassified as a peripheral party after notice to all parties and an opportunity to object. For purposes of this subdivision, a peripheral party is a party having total claimed exposure of less than $25,000. Civil Code §6000(e)(3).

[7] Selection of Dispute Resolution Facilitator 

Within 20 days of sending the notice set forth in paragraph (2) of subdivision (e), the association, respondent, subcontractors, design professionals, and their insurers who have been sent a notice as described in paragraph (2) of subdivision (e) shall meet and confer in an effort to select a dispute resolution facilitator (DRF) to preside over the mandatory dispute resolution process prescribed by this section. Any subcontractor or design professional who has been given timely notice of this meeting but who does not participate waives any challenge he or she may have as to the selection of the DRF. The role of the dispute resolution facilitator is to attempt to resolve the conflict in a fair manner. The DRF shall be sufficiently knowledgeable in the subject matter and be able to devote sufficient time to the case. The DRF shall not be required to reside in or have an office in the county in which the project is located. Civil Code §6000(f)(1).

[8] Case Management Meeting 

The dispute resolution facilitator and the participating parties shall agree to a date, time, and location to hold a case management meeting of all parties and the dispute resolution facilitator, to discuss the claims being asserted and the scheduling of events under this section. The case management meeting with the DRF shall be held within 100 days of service of the Notice of Commencement of Legal Proceedings at a location in the county where the project is located. Written notice of the case management meeting with the DRF shall be sent by the respondent to the association, subcontractors and design professionals, and their insurers who are known to the respondent to be on notice of the claim, no later than 10 days prior to the case management meeting, and shall specify its date, time, and location. The DRF in consultation with the respondent shall maintain a contact list of the participating parties. Civil Code §6000(f)(1).

[9] Disclosure of Possible Conflicts by DRF 

No later than 10 days prior to the case management meeting, the DRF shall disclose to the parties all matters that could cause a person aware of the facts to reasonably entertain a doubt that the proposed DRF would be able to resolve the conflict in a fair manner. The facilitator's disclosure shall include the existence of any ground specified in §170.1 of the Code of Civil Procedure for disqualification of a judge, any attorney-client relationship the facilitator has or had with any party or lawyer for a party to the dispute resolution process, and any professional or significant personal relationship the facilitator or his or her spouse or minor child living in the household has or had with any party to the dispute resolution process. The disclosure shall also be provided to any subsequently noticed subcontractor or design professional within 10 days of the notice. Civil Code §6000(f)(2).

[10] Disqualification of DRF 

A dispute resolution facilitator shall be disqualified by the court if he or she fails to comply with this paragraph and any party to the dispute resolution process serves a notice of disqualification prior to the case management meeting. If the DRF complies with this paragraph, he or she shall be disqualified by the court on the basis of the disclosure if any party to the dispute resolution process serves a notice of disqualification prior to the case management meeting. Civil Code §6000(f)(3).

[11] Selection of DRF If Parties Cannot Agree 

If the parties cannot mutually agree to a dispute resolution facilitator, then each party shall submit a list of three dispute resolution facilitators. Each party may then strike one nominee from the other parties' list, and petition the court, pursuant to the procedure described in subdivisions (n) and (o), for final selection of the DRF. The court may issue an order for final selection of the DRF pursuant to this paragraph. 

Any subcontractor or design professional who receives notice of the association's claim without having previously received timely notice of the meet and confer to select the DRF shall be notified by the respondent regarding the name, address, and telephone number of the dispute resolution facilitator. Any such subcontractor or design professional may serve upon the parties and the dispute resolution facilitator a written objection to the DRF within 15 days of receiving notice of the claim. Within seven days after service of this objection, the subcontractor or design professional may petition the superior court to replace the DRF. The court may replace the dispute resolution facilitator only upon a showing of good cause, liberally construed. Failure to satisfy the deadlines set forth in this subdivision shall constitute a waiver of the right to challenge the dispute resolution facilitator. Civil Code §6000(f)(4)-(5).

[12] Apportionment of DRF Costs 

The costs of the dispute resolution facilitator shall be apportioned in the following manner: one-third to be paid by the association; one-third to be paid by the respondent; and one-third to be paid by the subcontractors and design professionals, as allocated among them by the dispute resolution facilitator. The costs of the DRF shall be recoverable by the prevailing party in any subsequent litigation pursuant to §1032 of the Code of Civil Procedure, provided however that any nonsettling party may, prior to the filing of the complaint, petition the facilitator to reallocate the costs of the DRF as they apply to any nonsettling party. The determination of the DRF with respect to the allocation of these costs shall be binding in any subsequent litigation. The DRF shall take into account all relevant factors and equities between all parties in the dispute resolution process when reallocating costs. Civil Code §6000(f)(6).

[13] Replacement of DRF 

In the event the dispute resolution facilitator is replaced at any time, the case management statement created pursuant to subdivision (h) shall remain in full force and effect. Civil Code §6000(f)(7).

[14] DRF's Powers 

The dispute resolution facilitator is empowered to enforce all provisions of §6000. Civil Code §6000(f)(8).

[15] Data Compilation by All Parties 

No later than the case management meeting, the parties shall begin to generate a data compilation showing the following information regarding the alleged defects at issue:

  • The scope of the work performed by each potentially responsible subcontractor.
  • The tract or phase number in which each subcontractor provided goods or services, or both.
  • The units, either by address, unit number, or lot number, at which each subcontractor provided goods or services, or both.

This data compilation shall be updated as needed to reflect additional information. Each party attending the case management meeting, and any subsequent meeting pursuant to this section, shall provide all information available to that party relevant to this data compilation. Civil Code §6000(g).

[16] Conduct of Case Management Meeting 

At the case management meeting, the parties shall, with the assistance of the DRF, reach agreement on a case management statement, which shall set forth all of the elements set forth in paragraphs (1) to (8), inclusive, except that the parties may dispense with one or more of these elements if they agree that it is appropriate to do so. The case management statement shall provide that the following elements shall take place in the following order:

(1) Establishment of a document depository, located in the county where the project is located, for deposit of documents, defect lists, demands, and other information provided for under this section. All documents exchanged by the parties and all documents created pursuant to this subdivision shall be deposited in the document depository, which shall be available to all parties throughout the prefiling dispute resolution process and in any subsequent litigation. When any document is deposited in the document depository, the party depositing the document shall provide written notice identifying the document to all other parties. The costs of maintaining the document depository shall be apportioned among the parties in the same manner as the costs of the dispute resolution facilitator.

(2) Provision of a more detailed list of defects by the association to the respondent after the association completes a visual inspection of the project. This list of defects shall provide sufficient detail for the respondent to ensure that all potentially responsible subcontractors and design professionals are provided with notice of the dispute resolution process. If not already completed prior to the case management meeting, the Notice of Commencement of Legal Proceeding shall be served by the respondent on all additional subcontractors and design professionals whose potential responsibility appears on the face of the more detailed list of defects within seven days of receipt of the more detailed list. The respondent shall serve a copy of the case management statement, including the name, address, and telephone number of the dispute resolution facilitator, to all the potentially responsible subcontractors and design professionals at the same time.

(3) Nonintrusive visual inspection of the project by the respondent, subcontractors, and design professionals.

(4) Invasive testing conducted by the association, as the association deems appropriate. All parties may observe and photograph any testing conducted by the association pursuant to this paragraph, but may not take samples or direct testing unless, by mutual agreement, costs of testing are shared by the parties.

(5) Preparation by the association of a comprehensive demand that provides sufficient detail for the parties to engage in meaningful dispute resolution as contemplated under this section.

(6) Invasive testing conducted by the respondent, subcontractors, and design professionals, as they deem appropriate.

(7) Allowance for modification of the demand by the association if new issues arise during the testing conducted by the respondent, subcontractor, or design professionals.

(8) Facilitated dispute resolution of the claim, with all parties, including peripheral parties, as appropriate, and insurers, if any, present and having settlement authority. The dispute resolution facilitators shall endeavor to set specific times for the attendance of specific parties at dispute resolution sessions. If the DRF does not set specific times for the attendance of parties at dispute resolution sessions, the dispute resolution facilitator shall permit those parties to participate in dispute resolution sessions by telephone. 

In addition to the foregoing elements of the case management statement described in subdivision (h), upon mutual agreement of the parties, the DRF may include any or all of the following elements in a case management statement: the exchange of consultant or expert photographs; expert presentations; expert meetings; or any other mechanism deemed appropriate by the parties in the interest of resolving the dispute. Civil Code §6000(h)-(i).

[17] Establishment of Deadlines for Case Management Events 

The dispute resolution facilitator, with the guidance of the parties, shall at the time the case management statement is established, set deadlines for the occurrence of each event set forth in the case management statement, taking into account such factors as the size and complexity of the case, and the requirement of this section that this dispute resolution process not exceed 180 days absent agreement of the parties to an extension of time. Civil Code §6000(j).

[18] Respondent's Submission to Association 

At a time to be determined by the dispute resolution facilitator, the respondent may submit to the association all of the following:

(i) A request to meet with the board to discuss a written settlement offer.

(ii) A written settlement offer, and a concise explanation of the reasons for the terms of the offer.

(iii) A statement that the respondent has access to sufficient funds to satisfy the conditions of the settlement offer.

(iv) A summary of the results of testing conducted for the purposes of determining the nature and extent of defects, if this testing has been conducted, unless the association provided the respondent with actual test results. 

If the respondent does not timely submit the items required by this subdivision, the association shall be relieved of any further obligation to satisfy the requirements of this subdivision only. Civil Code §6000(k)(1)(A)-(B).

[19] Meet and Confer on Settlement Offer 

No less than 10 days after the respondent submits the items required by this paragraph, the respondent and the board of directors of the association shall meet and confer about the respondent's settlement offer. Civil Code §6000(k)(1)(C).

[20] Membership Meeting If Respondent's Offer Is Rejected 

If the association's board of directors rejects a settlement offer presented at the meeting held pursuant to this subdivision, the board shall hold a meeting open to each member of the association. The meeting shall be held no less than 15 days before the association commences an action for damages against the respondent. 

No less than 15 days before this meeting is held, a written notice shall be sent to each member of the association specifying all of the following:

(i) That a meeting will take place to discuss problems that may lead to the filing of a civil action, and the time and place of this meeting.

(ii) The options that are available to address the problems, including the filing of a civil action and a statement of the various alternatives that are reasonably foreseeable by the association to pay for those options and whether these payments are expected to be made from the use of reserve account funds or the imposition of regular or special assessments, or emergency assessment increases.

(iii) The complete text of any written settlement offer, and a concise explanation of the specific reasons for the terms of the offer submitted to the board at the meeting held pursuant to subdivision (d) that was received from the respondent. 

The respondent shall pay all expenses attributable to sending the settlement offer to all members of the association. The respondent shall also pay the expense of holding the meeting, not to exceed three dollars per association member. 

The discussions at the meeting and the contents of the notice and the items required to be specified in the notice pursuant to paragraph (E) are privileged communications and are not admissible in evidence in any civil action, unless the association consents to their admission. 

No more than one request to meet and discuss a written settlement offer may be made by the respondent pursuant to this subdivision. Civil Code §6000(k)(1)(D)-(H).

[21] Inadmissibility of Documents and Communications 

Except for the purpose of in camera review as provided in subdivision (c) of Civil Code §6000.05, all defect lists and demands, communications, negotiations, and settlement offers made in the course of the prelitigation dispute resolution process provided by §6000 shall be inadmissible pursuant to §§1119 to 1124, inclusive, of the Evidence Code and all applicable decisional law. This inadmissibility shall not be extended to any other documents or communications, which would not otherwise be deemed inadmissible. Civil Code §6000(l).

[22] Petition for Release from Dispute Resolution Process 

Any subcontractor or design professional may, at any time, petition the dispute resolution facilitator to release that party from the dispute resolution process upon a showing that the subcontractor or design professional is not potentially responsible for the defect claims at issue. The petition shall be served contemporaneously on all other parties, who shall have 15 days from the date of service to object. If a subcontractor or design professional is released, and it later appears to the dispute resolution facilitator that it may be a responsible party in light of the current defect list or demand, the respondent shall renotice the party as provided by paragraph (2) of subdivision (e), provide a copy of the current defect list or demand, and direct the party to attend a dispute resolution session at a stated time and location. A party who subsequently appears after having been released by the dispute resolution facilitator shall not be prejudiced by its absence from the dispute resolution process as the result of having been previously released by the dispute resolution facilitator. Civil Code §6000(m).

[23] Petition for Appointment of Referee 

Any party may, at any time, petition the superior court in the county where the project is located, upon a showing of good cause, and the court may issue an order, for any of the following, or for appointment of a referee to resolve a dispute regarding any of the following:

(1) To take a deposition of any party to the process, or subpoena a third party for deposition or production of documents, that is necessary to further prelitigation resolution of the dispute.

(2) To resolve any disputes concerning inspection, testing, production of documents, or exchange of information provided for under this section.

(3) To resolve any disagreements relative to the timing or contents of the case management statement.

(4) To authorize internal extensions of timeframes set forth in the case management statement.

(5) To seek a determination that a settlement is a good faith settlement pursuant to §877.6 of the Code of Civil Procedure and all related authorities. The page limitations and meet and confer requirements specified in this section shall not apply to these motions, which may be made on shortened notice. Instead, these motions shall be subject to other applicable state law, rules of court, and local rules. A determination made by the court pursuant to this motion shall have the same force and effect as the determination of a post-filing application or motion for good faith settlement.

(6) To ensure compliance, on shortened notice, with the obligation to provide a Statement of Insurance pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (e).

(7) For any other relief appropriate to the enforcement of the provisions of this section, including the ordering of parties, and insurers, if any, to the dispute resolution process with settlement authority. 

A petition filed pursuant to §6000(n) shall be filed in the superior court in the county in which the project is located. The court shall hear and decide the petition within 10 days after filing. The petitioning party shall serve the petition on all parties, including the date, time, and location of the hearing no later than five business days prior to the hearing. Any responsive papers shall be filed and served no later than three business days prior to the hearing. Any petition or response filed under this section shall be no more than three pages in length. 

All parties shall meet with the dispute resolution facilitator, if one has been appointed and confer in person or by the telephone prior to the filing of that petition to attempt to resolve the matter without requiring court intervention. Civil Code §6000(n).

Procedures for Filing Complaint Following Calderon Process 

Section 1375.05 also has been added to the Civil Code, which provides:

(a) Upon the completion of the mandatory prefiling dispute resolution process described in §1375, if the parties have not settled the matter, the association or its assignee may file a complaint in the superior court in the county in which the project is located. Those matters shall be given trial priority.

(b) In assigning trial priority, the court shall assign the earliest possible trial date, taking into consideration the pretrial preparation completed pursuant to §1375, and shall deem the complaint to have been filed on the date of service of the Notice of Commencement of Legal Proceeding described under §1375.

(c) Any respondent, subcontractor, or design professional who received timely prior notice of the inspections and testing conducted under §1375 shall be prohibited from engaging in additional inspection or testing, except if all of the following specific conditions are met, upon motion to the court:

(1) There is an insurer for a subcontractor or design professional, that did not have timely notice that legal proceedings were commenced under §1375 at least 30 days prior to the commencement of inspections or testing pursuant to paragraph (6) of subdivision (h) of §1375.

(2) The insurer's insured did not participate in any inspections or testing conducted under the provisions of paragraph (6) of subdivision (h) of §1375.

(3) The insurer has, after receiving notice of a complaint filed in superior court under subdivision (a), retained separate counsel, who did not participate in the §1375 dispute resolution process, to defend its insured as to the allegations in the complaint.

(4) It is reasonably likely that the insured would suffer prejudice if additional inspections or testing are not permitted.

(5) The information obtainable through the proposed additional inspections or testing is not available through any reasonable alternative sources. 

If the court permits additional inspections or testing upon finding that these requirements are met, any additional inspections or testing shall be limited to the extent reasonably necessary to avoid the likelihood of prejudice and shall be coordinated among all similarly situated parties to ensure that they occur without unnecessary duplication. For purposes of providing notice to an insurer prior to inspections or testing under paragraph (6) of subdivision (h) of §1375, if notice of the proceedings was not provided by the insurer's insured, notice may be made via certified mail either by the subcontractor, design professional, association, or respondent to the address specified in the Statement of Insurance provided under paragraph (2) of subdivision (e) of §1375. Nothing herein shall affect the rights of an intervenor who files a complaint in intervention. If the association alleges defects that were not specified in the prefiling dispute resolution process under §1375, the respondent, subcontractor, and design professionals shall be permitted to engage in testing or inspection necessary to respond to the additional claims. A party who seeks additional inspections or testing based upon the amendment of claims shall apply to the court for leave to conduct those inspections or that testing. 

If the court determines that it must review the defect claims alleged by the association in the prefiling dispute resolution process in order to determine whether the association alleges new or additional defects, this review shall be conducted in camera. Upon objection of any party, the court shall refer the matter to a judge other than the assigned trial judge to determine if the claim has been amended in such a way as to require additional testing or inspection.

(d) Any subcontractor or design professional who had notice of the facilitated dispute resolution conducted under §1375 but failed to attend, or attended without settlement authority, shall be bound by the amount of any settlement reached in the facilitated dispute resolution in any subsequent trial, although the affected party may introduce evidence as to the allocation of the settlement. Any party who failed to participate in the facilitated dispute resolution because the party did not receive timely notice of the mediation shall be relieved of any obligation to participate in the settlement. Notwithstanding any privilege applicable to the prefiling dispute resolution process provided by §1375, evidence may be introduced by any party to show whether a subcontractor or design professional failed to attend or attended without settlement authority. The binding effect of this subdivision shall in no way diminish or reduce a nonsettling subcontractor or design professional's right to defend itself or assert all available defenses relevant to its liability in any subsequent trial. For purposes of this subdivision, a subcontractor or design professional shall not be deemed to have attended without settlement authority because it asserted defenses to its potential liability.

(e) Notice of the facilitated dispute resolution conducted under §1375 must be mailed by the respondent no later than 20 days prior to the date of the first facilitated dispute resolution session to all parties. Notice shall also be mailed to each of these parties' known insurance carriers. Mailing of this notice shall be by certified mail. Any subsequent facilitated dispute resolution notices shall be served by any mean reasonably calculated to provide those parties actual notice.

(f) As to the complaint, the order of discovery shall, at the request of any defendant, except upon a showing of good cause, permit the association's expert witnesses to be deposed prior to any percipient party depositions. The depositions shall, at the request of the association, be followed immediately by the defendant's experts and then by the subcontractors' and design professionals' experts, except on a showing of good cause. For purposes of this section, in determining what constitutes "good cause," the court shall consider, among other things, the goal of early disclosure of defects and whether the expert is prepared to render a final opinion, except that the court may modify the scope of any expert's deposition to address those concerns.

(g)(1) The only method of seeking judicial relief for the failure of the association or the respondent to complete the dispute resolution process under §1375 shall be the assertion, as provided for in this subdivision, of a procedural deficiency to an action for damages by the association against the respondent after that action has been filed. A verified application asserting a procedural deficiency shall be filed with the court no later than 90 days after the answer to the plaintiff's complaint has been served, unless the court finds that extraordinary conditions exist.

(2) Upon the verified application of the association or the respondent alleging substantial noncompliance with §1375, the court shall schedule a hearing within 21 days of the application to determine whether the association or respondent has substantially complied with this section. The issue may be determined upon affidavits or upon oral testimony, in the discretion of the court.

(3)(A) If the court finds that the association or the respondent did not substantially comply with this paragraph, the court shall stay the action for up to 90 days to allow the noncomplying party to establish substantial compliance. The court shall set a hearing within 90 days to determine substantial compliance. At any time, the court may, for good cause shown, extend the period of the stay upon application of the noncomplying party.

(B) If, within the time set by the court pursuant to this paragraph, the association or the respondent has not established that it has substantially complied with this section, the court shall determine if, in the interest of justice, the action should be dismissed without prejudice, or if another remedy should be fashioned. Under no circumstances shall the court dismiss the action with prejudice as a result of the association's failure to substantially comply with this section. In determining the appropriate remedy, the court shall consider the extent to which the respondent has complied with this section.

(h) This section shall become operative on July 1, 2002; however, it shall not apply to any pending action or proceeding.

(i) This section shall become inoperative on July 1, 2010, and, as of January 1, 2011, is repealed, unless a later enacted statute that is enacted before January 1, 2011, deletes or extends the dates on which it becomes inoperative and is repealed.