February 20th Chapter Meeting

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Join your Chapter Colleagues for a fascinating presentation about Owner Liability.

Time: 5:30-7:30pm
Where: 101 Eighth St, Association of Bay Area Governments, Oakland, CA (across the street from Lake Merritt BART) (Map)
RSVP: chapterinfo@eerinc.org by Monday February 18th. Please RSVP so that we order enough food; however, don’t hesitate to bring along a suddenly inspired co-worker at the last minute!

Owner Liability: A New Incentive to Act?


Ken_Moy Kenneth Moy
Kenneth Moy has served as Legal Counsel to the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) since 1982 and to its affiliate entities, including the ABAG PLAN Corporation, ABAG Finance Authority for Nonprofit Corporations, the San Francisco Estuary Partnership, the San Francisco Bay Trail Project, and the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority since their inception. He has structured and assisted in the implementation of a broad range of intergovernmental projects and programs including the first multi-governmental office condominium, a municipal liability and property insurance pool, the pooled purchase of natural gas and electricity, and regional infrastructure planning and implementation.He coauthored with Jeanne Perkins a report on private sector liability for earthquake hazards and losses (1984) and an update on public sector liability for earthquake hazards and losses (1988).Kenneth received an A.B. (cum laude in English) from Princeton University in 1975 and J.D. from the University of California (Boalt Hall) in 1979. He was admitted to practice in the State of California and the Federal District Court for the Northern District of California, November 1979.


Can building owners be held liable for their buildings in an earthquake? Does finding out more about a building’s potential liability increase an owner’s liability? Are there practical ways to promote safety and reduce liability?

A recent appellate court decision upheld a trial court award of$1.9 million in damages against a property owner for bodily injury caused by their URM building during an earthquake in Paso Robles, CA. The decision found that the ordinance requiring retrofit of URM buildings did not shield the owners from liability because the goal of the ordinance was to improve public safety. The jury concluded that the building owner was negligent in failing to perform a seismic retrofit that could have prevented these deaths.

There may be similarities between this case and other vulnerable structures, such as soft-story buildings, schools, and government facilities. Soft-story notification programs such as those taking place in the Bay Area are part of a broader societal trend recognizing the seismic hazards of soft‐story buildings that will make it harder for owners to avoid liability in future court cases. Owners will need to integrate this risk exposure into their enterprise goals.

Register today at:


EERI Northern California Chapter | c/o EERI National | 499 14th Street Suite 320 | Oakland, CA 94612-1934 USA | chapterinfo@eerinc.org