A History Of Winning Substantial Compensation For Serious Soils Failures

When landslides, unstable soil or other slope failures are improperly corrected or never addressed, the effects are devastating both emotionally and financially for owners who trusted that the structure was safe. While the complexities of these issues can be difficult for those outside the engineering, architectural and construction fields, the impact is quite clear. Attorney Joel Castro has made it his life's work to fight these problems in a way that is easily understandable for juries, resulting in positive changes for both his clients and the industry in general.

Results from Catastrophic Soils Failure

1989 - 1990 Longest Civil Jury Trial in Los Angeles County

The Castro firm successfully litigated the longest land subsidence jury trial in Los Angeles County history. Joel Castro tried the massive 200 unit Eaton Crest project in Monterey Hills, a structure that was constructed on a defective 100 foot deep landfill. The $21,634,466 award reported by the Los Angeles Daily Journal was the largest jury award of the year.

"There was a canyon with an artesian well at the bottom. The fill was subsiding so fast, nothing could be corrected until the fill was stabilized. The water in the swimming pool was at an angle and the building was falling apart." (Los Angeles Daily Journal, August, 1994)
Over 300,000 construction documents were produced and managed by the firm.
"Castro accomplished this partly by using a specially designed computer program, long before the technology was used by most lawyers. Other attorneys believe he might have been the pioneer in database litigation." (Los Angeles Daily Journal, August 1994).

The jury returned a multi-million dollar verdict which was increased by the addition of attorneys' fees and costs, together with interest. As a result of this favorable jury verdict, all Monterey Hills owners were able to settle their aggregate claims for $65,000,000 which represented the remaining coverage for all insurance carriers after $40,000,000 was paid in defense costs. Mr. Castro was instrumental in achieving that global settlement.

Clark Gable Estates, Encino...

2003: Clark Gable Estates
$4,000,000 Slope Failure Case

The Castro office has had considerable success litigating, arbitrating and mediating landslide and slope failure cases. In 2001 through 2003, the Castro firm litigated a massive slope failure case in the Clark Gable Estate section of Encino. The two month jury trial and subsequent court orders netted over $4,000,000 for the repair and stabilization of the failed hillside that threatened both down slope owners and the up-slope homes.


The Castro firm involved the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety, Grading Division, and called the head of the Grading Division as a key witness. The firm also successfully represented its clients when the defendants appealed the court ordered repair in proceedings before the Board of Building and Safety Commissioners.

In a post trial hearing where plaintiffs requested an attorney fee award the court stated:
THE COURT [To Joel Castro]: "Well. I'll go farther than that. I think you did a fabulous job, and I was impressed with that." (Judge Harwin July 24, 2003 Court Reporter's Transcript, page 61)

Malibu Ancient Slide, Tivoli Cove...

Tivoli Cove
Multi-Million Dollar Subsidence Case

The Castro firm litigated a 104 unit condominium project in Malibu. The development and conversion was permitted by compliance with numerous grading conditions and coastal commission reports. An ancient landslide beneath the Tivoli Cove condominium project in Malibu was never corrected before selling the condominiums. The soils beneath the project were unstable and subsiding, causing property damage to the condominium units and common areas. Castro & Associates sued the developer and soils engineer securing a multi-million dollar recovery that included stabilizing the project and roadway with caissons to bedrock penetrating beneath the ancient landslide plane.

A Pioneer In Database Litigation

Castro & Associates is a law firm founded by Joel Castro and based in Los Angeles, California. The firm has experience in construction defect litigation that has spanned 40 years, with skills unmatched by most other firms. We are drawn to deeply complicated cases that other lawyers find too challenging.

After the longest land subsidence case in Los Angeles history Joel achieved a jury award of $21 million which was the largest construction recovery in Los Angeles county.

A look at some of our work involving catastrophic soil damage:

  • The sinking Monterey Hills condo development: A dream home near downtown Los Angeles became a nightmare for owners of condos in this development. The 200-unit structure was constructed on a defective 100-foot deep landfill.
  • "There was a canyon with an artesian well at the bottom. The fill was subsiding so fast, nothing could be corrected until the fill was stabilized. The water in the swimming pool was at an angle and the building was falling apart."(Los Angeles Daily Journal, August, 1994)
  • Joel Castro successfully litigated what was the longest land subsidence jury trial in Los Angeles County history. The result was a $21.6 million award, the largest jury award of the year.
  • As one of the first lawyers to use a specifically designed computer program for defect law, Castro and his staff produced and managed more than 300,000 documents in this trial.
  • "Castro accomplished this partly by using a specially designed computer program, long before the technology was used by most lawyers. Other attorneys believe he might have been the pioneer in database litigation." (Los Angeles Daily Journal, August 1994).

To read more about Castro & Associates's past trial experience, as well as mediation and arbitration, in slope failure and land subsidence, please see our other results in catastrophic soils failure cases.

We Believe It's Not Hard — Just Complicated

Castro & Associates has the resources, experience and know-how to fight highly complex cases involving catastrophic soil failure. We invite you to contact us for more information. We can be reached at (310) 966-6060 .