SAN ANTONIO — A trial court judge erred when finding that a homebuilder accused of construction defects waived its right to arbitration by participating in a couple’s lawsuit, a Texas appeals panel ruled Dec. 5, holding that the couple failed to show that the defendant invoked the judicial process (Anderson-Jenkins Signature Homes Ltd. v. Benjamin Randolph Allen II, et al., No. 04-18-00348-CV, Texas App., 4th Dist., 2018 Tex. App. LEXIS 9967).
CARSON CITY, Nev. — The Nevada Supreme Court on Nov. 28 vacated a trial court judge’s ruling denying a homebuilder’s motion to compel arbitration, holding that arbitration provisions in the homeowners’ purchase and sales agreements (PSAs) were enforceable and governed by the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) (U.S. Home Corp. v. Racal Lanier, et al., No. 68692, Nev. Sup., 2018 Nev. LEXIS 1075).
HOUSTON — A couple sued the builder of their home, as well as a number of subcontractors, in Texas state court on Dec. 3, complaining that defects in the building of the structure have caused water intrusion that resulted in mold growth that has made the home uninhabitable (Jeffrey Parker, et al. v. De La Garza Custom Homes Inc., et al., No. 2018-85944, Texas Dist., 157th Jud. Dist., Harris Co.).
HOUSTON — An African-American couple sued their home builder and three of its employees in Texas federal court Nov. 19 claiming that the defendants’ refusal to repair defects in their newly constructed home violated the Civil Rights Act of 1866, as well as the Texas Residential Construction Liability Act (Matthew Conerly, et al. v. Liberty Home Builders LLC, et al., No. 18-cv-4376, S.D. Texas).
WILMINGTON, Del. — A trial court judge in Delaware on Nov. 13 overturned his earlier ruling dismissing a condominium owners’ association’s construction defects claims against a masonry subcontractor, holding that the decision that claims were barred by the doctrine of res judicata was “simply wrong” (Washington House Condominium Association of Owners, et al. v. Daystar Sills Inc., et al., No. N15C-01-108 WCC CCLD, Del. Super., New Castle Co., 2018 Del. Super. LEXIS 1316).
WILMINGTON, Del. — A Delaware judge on Nov. 9 denied a motion to dismiss a couple’s construction defect suit filed by Toll Brothers Inc., Toll Bros. Inc., Tenby Hunt Inc. and Toll Architecture Inc., finding that neither an arbitration provision in the homeowners’ sales agreement nor their home warranty barred their action (Frederick Wang, et al. v. Hockessin Chase L.P., et al., No. N15C-03-066 WC, Del. Super., New Castle Co., 2018 Del. Super. LEXIS 1322).
NEW ORLEANS — A couple sued Pella Corp. on Nov. 19 in Louisiana federal court, complaining that the manufacturer sold defective windows and doors that were installed in their home that allowed water intrusion, leading to structural damage and termite infestations (Maryann Rooney, et al. v. Pella Corp., No. 18-cv-11158, E.D. La.).
LOS ANGELES — A California judge did not err when denying a woman’s motions for judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) and for a new trial against a subcontractor accused of shoddy workmanship, a state appeals panel ruled Nov. 16, holding that the judge properly found that the evidence established that the subcontractor performed work only at the instruction of the project’s general contractor and that there was insufficient evidence to support a verdict that the subcontractor was guilty of negligence (Lauren Cazden v. Josue Cisneros Espinoza, No. B281837, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., 4th Div., 2018 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 7704).
PITTSBURGH — A Pennsylvania couple on Nov. 20 objected to a federal magistrate judge’s Nov. 6 report and recommendation to deny remand of their construction defects lawsuit, arguing that the magistrate did not properly consider their intent to pursue a cause of action against a flooring supplier even though the parties were involved in settlement negotiations (Nicholas Tripodes, et al. v. NVR Inc., et al., No. 18-1131, W.D. Pa.).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A Florida appellate panel on Nov. 27 affirmed an engineering firm’s summary judgment award in a suit brought by the owner of an airport that claims that the firm’s failure to supervise construction resulted in the use of substandard materials, finding that the damages were consequential and not subject to a contract between the parties (Keystone Airpark Authority v. Pipeline Contractors Inc., et al., No. 1D-17-2897, Fla. App., 1st Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 16807).
LOS ANGELES — A California appeals panel on Nov. 14 ordered a trial court judge to vacate a portion of an earlier decision denying a valve maker’s anti-class certification motion, finding that the Right to Repair Act does not allow the plaintiffs to pursue class action claims under the statute because the product was manufactured offsite before being incorporated into the fixtures of their homes (Kohler Co. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County, No. B288935, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., 4th Div., 2018 Cal. App. LEXIS 1026).
NEW ORLEANS — A proposed class of homeowners who allege that homes built by Brad Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation (MIR) contained defects that allowed for water intrusion and mold growth say in a Nov. 12 motion to remand that the suit should be sent back to state court because the foundation is unable to show that the requested damages will exceed $5 million and that the action satisfies the local controversy exception to the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) Lloyd Francis, et al. v. Make It Right-New Orleans LLC, et al., No. 18-cv-09906, E.D. La.).
BATON ROUGE, La. — A federal jury in Louisiana on Nov. 5 awarded a couple $335,000 in damages after finding that windows installed in their home contained a redhibitory defect that caused water damage to the building and that manufacturer Jeld-Wen Inc. breached the warranty for the product (Ronald Leo, et al. v. Jeld-Wen Inc., No. 16-00605-BAJ-EWD, M.D. La.).
PITTSBURGH — A federal magistrate judge in Pennsylvania on Nov. 6 recommended denying a couple’s motion to remand their construction defects suit, finding that a flooring supplier is improperly joined to the action because the plaintiffs do not assert any allegations against it (Nicholas Tripodes, et al. v. NVR Inc., et al., No. 18-1131, W.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 190685).
GEORGETOWN, Del. — Two women on Nov. 5 sued a contractor in Delaware state court arguing that he breached the terms of a contract by constructing a roof over their rear deck that subsequently leaked (Judith L. Cather, et al. v. Travis Harmon, No. S18C-11-004, Del Super., Sussex Co.).
WILMINGTON, Del. — A couple on Nov. 1 opposed a home builder’s motion for summary judgment in Delaware state court, arguing that their expert’s testimony should not be excluded due to his failure to know that the builder obtained a permit to repair stone veneer and stucco that was damaged by water intrusion (Paul Agostini, et al. v. Blenheim at Augustine Creek LLC, No. N16C-06-167 CLS, Del. Super., New Castle Co.).
CLEVELAND — An Ohio appellate panel on Nov. 1 overturned a lower court judge’s ruling that an arbitration provision in a construction contract was unenforceable under the doctrine of impossibility because the chosen arbitrator was defunct, finding that the plaintiffs alleged that their home builder and the arbitrator had an improper relationship (Bryan Paulozzi, et al. v. Parkview Custom Homes LLC, et al., No. 106617, Ohio App., 8th Dist., 2018 Ohio App. LEXIS 4739).
NEW ORLEANS — Four former directors and operators of the Make It Right Foundation (MIR), which was founded by Brad Pitt for the purpose of rebuilding homes in the Lower Ninth Ward that were destroyed as a result of Hurricane Katrina, on Oct. 31 moved for dismissal from a proposed class action, arguing that the plaintiffs lack standing to bring claims against them (Lloyd Francis, et al. v. Make It Right-New Orleans LLC, et al., No. 18-cv-09906, E.D. La.).
ORLANDO, Fla. — A property owner sued the builder of a school on Oct. 4 in Florida state court, arguing that the defendant improperly installed concrete masonry units (CMUs) and that its failure to comply with the Florida Building Code constituted a breach of the construction contract (Cameron Avenue Charter Property LLC v. Summit Construction Management LLC, No. 2018-CA-010929, Fla. Cir., Orange Co.).
WAUSAU, Wis. — A Wisconsin appellate panel on Oct. 29 affirmed a lower court’s ruling awarding summary judgment to a contractor that installed a roof on a Kmart Corp. store that later partially collapsed, finding that the retailer’s negligence claim was barred by the economic-loss doctrine and that its claims were untimely (Kmart Corp. v. Herzog Roofing Inc., No. 2017AP1041, Wis. App., 3rd Dist., 2018 Wisc. App. LEXIS 842).