HARRISBURG, Pa. — A Pennsylvania appeals court panel on Jan. 6 reversed a trial court’s ruling that vacated portions of an arbitrator’s finding that a couple’s construction defect claims against the builder of their home was barred by the 12-year statute of repose, holding that the judge failed to explain what evidence could be used to support the argument that the statute was inapplicable.
GALVESTON, Texas — A homebuilder and a developer say in a motion filed in Texas state court on Dec. 28 that they should not be required to comply with a man’s requests for discovery in a construction defects lawsuit because the arbitration provision in the purchase and sale agreement says the parties “are giving up their respective judicial rights to discovery.”
TAMPA, Fla. — A couple sued the builder of their home in Florida state court on Dec. 21, complaining that the improper installation of stucco on the building has resulted in structural damages, as well as damages such as the costs of repairs, reduction in value of the property and the costs of alternate living expenses.
SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah appeals court addressed what it called a matter of first impression in a Dec. 24 decision that vacated a ruling awarding summary judgment in favor of a contractor accused of defective construction of a yoga studio on the ground that the studio and its owner waived an affirmative defense about the contractor’s lack of a license at the time the work began, finding that the trial court should determine if a common-law exception to the nonrecovery provision of the state’s licensure statute is appliable.
LOS ANGELES — A California appeals court on Dec. 22 overturned a ruling awarding summary judgment to a company that installed an allegedly defective solar power system, finding that the warranty provided by the installer was ambiguous and could be interpreted in two ways.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A couple who are subsequent buyers of a home they allege was built with improperly installed stucco asked the Florida Supreme Court in a brief filed Dec. 23 to reverse an appeals court ruling finding that their claims against the homebuilder are subject to the arbitration provision in the home’s warranty, arguing that the warranty provided to the original purchasers is not binding because it does not run with the land and because they did not agree to arbitrate claims against the homebuilder.
BEAUMONT, Texas — A Texas appeals panel on Dec. 30 revived a homeowner’s claims for breach of express warranty, breach of contract and violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA) against a foundation contractor, finding that genuine disputes exist as to whether repairs performed by the company were sufficient to fix problems with its prior work.
NEW YORK — A New York appeals court on Dec. 23 modified a ruling denying a permanent stay of arbitration proceedings between homeowners and a contracting company that refused to remedy alleged defects that occurred during the remodeling of their Greenwich, Conn., home, finding that the president of the company was not a subject to the proceedings in his individual capacity because he was not a party to the contract.
TUCSON, Ariz. — An Arizona appeals court on Dec. 23 overruled arguments challenging a ruling awarding a couple $363,367.60 in attorney fees after prevailing on their counterclaims against a homebuilder, finding that the builder should have raised the issues during an earlier appeal, that a settlement agreement between the homeowners and various subcontractors did not prevent the couple from pursuing the fees and that the fees were properly calculated.
HARRISBURG, Pa. — A Pennsylvania appeals court panel on Dec. 15 vacated a ruling affirming an arbitration award in favor of a couple who accused their homebuilder of construction defects that resulted in water infiltration, finding that the builder’s filing of a challenge to the award in the wrong venue did not result in a “legal nullity.”
LINCOLN, Neb. — The Nebraska Supreme Court on Dec. 11 reversed a ruling awarding summary judgment to a heating and air conditioning contractor in a suit brought by a couple over the allegedly defective construction of interior and exterior geothermal systems, finding that the four-year statute of limitations began to run after the substantial completion of the exterior system in November 2012 because the terms of the construction contract were indivisible.
EASTERN HATTIESBURG, Miss. — A federal judge in Mississippi on Dec. 9 denied a masonry subcontractor’s motion to exclude the expert testimony of an unlicensed structural engineer regarding alleged defects in the construction of an apartment complex, finding that she is competent to testify and that the Mississippi Engineering Practices Act (MEPA) does not govern the competency of witnesses.
HOUSTON — A Texas appeals panel on Dec. 8 affirmed a trial court judge’s decision to deny a homebuilder’s motion to compel arbitration of a couple’s construction defects lawsuit, holding that their claims that defects in the construction of the home resulted in excessive moisture levels that led to mold growth did not stem from the original purchase agreement and that they were not subject to the arbitration provision in the purchase agreement under the theories of direct benefits estoppel and implied presumption.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 8 held telephonic oral arguments on arbitrability disputes in a case between two distributors of dental equipment, first hearing from the attorney representing petitioner Henry Schein Inc. who argued that the arbitration agreements in question delegated arbitrability to an arbitrator but that the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals negated the delegation by deciding the question itself (Henry Schein Inc. v. Archer and White Sales Inc., No. 19-963, U.S. Sup.).
TACOMA, Wash. — A federal judge in Washington on Dec. 2 sua sponte ordered the limited liability company (LLC) that owns an apartment complex to show that complete diversity exists between it and the manufacturer of an allegedly defective roofing system, explaining that an LLC “is a citizen of every state of which its owners/members are citizens” and not the state in where it was formed or does business.
Newly filed complaints in state courts in California, Florida, Georgia and Texas allege that builders and contractors are liable for construction defects ranging from improper installation of stucco and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to the faulty replacement of concrete steps.
NEW ORLEANS — Nineteen subsequent purchasers of properties that had allegedly defective drywall made in China installed in the homes filed notices of appeal in federal court in Louisiana on Nov. 30, stating that they are seeking reversal of a federal judge in Louisiana’s Aug. 21 ruling awarding summary judgment to the manufacturer on the ground that assignments from previous owners were ineffective under state law or that the suits were barred by the subsequent purchaser doctrine.
NEW YORK — A New York appeals court panel on Nov. 25 revived a man’s fraud claim against the builder of his home but sustained the remainder of a ruling that found he failed to state claims for breach of contract, breach of warranty and negligence against the homebuilder and the entity that sold him the home.
RENO, Nev. — The Nevada Supreme Court on Oct. 29 affirmed a ruling awarding summary judgment to contractors and subcontractors accused of defects in the construction of a woman’s home, finding that her filing of a notice pursuant to Nevada Revised Statute Chapter 40 (NRS ch. 40) during a yearlong grace period did not toll the six-year statute of repose because it did not constitute the commencement of her lawsuit, which was filed six months later.
MADISON, Wis. — A Wisconsin appeals court panel on Nov. 5 overturned a trial court’s decision to vacate an arbitrator’s award in a dispute over construction defects, finding that the homeowners forfeited their argument that the arbitrator’s drowsiness and alleged sleeping during the proceeding resulted in an imperfect execution of his duties.