In a not so surprising development, the Irvine Company, under its Limited Liability Company, Antivo Los Olivos, has chosen to appeal the verdict despite a resounding jury decision holding them accountable for Nic Yavelak’s injuries and damages. This appeal, however, appears to be without merit and threatens to inflict a significant personal cost on Mr. Yavelak. The appeal may cost Nic as much as $25,000-$50,000 just to force the Irvine Company to pay the judgment in his favor.
After a grueling trial, a jury of 12 individuals found the Irvine Company liable for the injuries and damages caused by hidden mold in Mr. Yavelak’s apartment. The company’s lawyers argued that the issue arose from a June 2018 leak and that they promptly addressed it. However, Strongin, LLP lawyers Eric Strongin, Kseniya Stupak and Daniel Libbey convincingly demonstrated to the jury that the Irvine Company’s failure to follow industry standards for mold remediation in January was the root cause of Mr. Yavelak’s suffering.
Furthermore, it was revealed that the Irvine Company used unlicensed and uncertified individuals with minimal training for the remediation process. Their own guidelines deviated from nationally recognized standards, and they failed to document the remediation adequately. Despite this, they certified the apartment as fully remediated based solely on a visual inspection by one of their employees.
The verdict handed down by an Orange County court was unequivocal in its judgment of negligence and breach of California’s implied warranty of habitability, awarding Mr. Yavelak $423,000. The Strongin law firm expects this amount to exceed $500,000 due to the pre-trial offer to resolve the matter by Nic Yavelak of $100,000, triggering additional costs under Code of Civil Procedure section 998. This means the Irvine Company will have to cover the expenses of expert witnesses hired by the plaintiff. Antivo offered $0 to resolve the matter in response to Yavelak’s $100,000 demand.
However, the Irvine Company’s decision to appeal now puts Mr. Yavelak in a difficult position. Fighting this appeal may personally cost him as much as $50,000, and the process is likely to drag on for a year or even longer. Nic Yavelak has not received any payment on his judgment, and will not until he successfully defeats the Irvine Co.’s appeal. It’s a daunting prospect for an individual who has already endured so much, but it is a strategy that well-funded defendants/appellants will often employee—hoping to make it financially unfeasible for the other party to continue to vindicate their rights.
We invite you to show your support for Nic Yavelak’s pursuit of justice by contributing to his GoFundMe page. Your generosity can make a significant difference in his ability to withstand this unjust and burdensome appeal. 100% of all donations will go to Nic Yavelak’s legal expenses.