COLUMBIA, S.C. — A South Carolina appeals panel on Aug. 6 affirmed a trial court judge’s denial of a general contractor’s motion for partial summary judgment, finding that indemnification provisions in two agreements with a subcontractor that installed windows that leaked was not required to indemnify it for damages, holding that the lower court properly applied the clear and unequivocal standard when reviewing the language in the provisions (Concord and Cumberland Horizontal Property Regime, et al. v. Concord & Cumberland LLC, et al., No. 5585, S.C. App., 2018 S.C. App. LEXIS 60).
PORTLAND, Ore. — A federal magistrate judge in Oregon on Aug. 2 disqualified a law firm from representing a homeowners association in a suit against members of its former board of directors and management company, finding that the firm’s work with the defendants in an earlier construction defects suit resulted in a conflict of interest (Quatama Park Townhomes Owners Association v. RBC Real Estate Finance Inc., et al., No. 18-cv-00023, D. Ore., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130761).
CHICAGO — A home builder on July 27 moved to dismiss a couple’s amended complaint accusing it of violating the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act (ICFA) and breaching the terms of a sales agreement, contending that the plaintiffs’ new complaint again failed to satisfy the heightened pleading requirement of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9(b) (Paul Smith, et al. v. NVR Inc., No. 17 C 8328, N.D. Ill.).
MINNEAPOLIS — A federal magistrate judge in Minnesota on July 30 recommended denying a motion to compel arbitration filed by the maker of joists that contain a coating that allegedly emits harmful levels of formaldehyde, finding that the home purchase agreement (HPA) between the buyer and the builder says that any pre-closing disputes should be resolved in “a court of competent jurisdiction where the property is located” (Dennis Esanbock, et al. v. Weyerhaeuser Co., No. 17cv3702, D. Minn.).
CARSON CITY, Nev. — The Nevada Supreme Court on July 18 overturned a ruling denying a home builder’s motion to compel arbitration, finding that the court has previously held that arbitration provisions in sales agreements with homeowners are governed by the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) and that the terms of the agreement are conscionable (U.S. Home Corp. v. Abrahim Aboukhalil, et al., No. 68637, Nev. Sup., 2018 Nev. Unpub. LEXIS 621).
BEAUFORT, S.C. — A federal judge in South Carolina on July 1 dismissed a general contractor’s third-party claims for negligence, gross negligence, breach of warranty, breach of contract, indemnification, strict product liability and apportionment of damages against a subcontractor, ruling that they are precluded by its claim for indemnification (Hampton Hall LLC v. Chapman Coyle Chapman & Associates AIA Inc., et al., No. 17-cv-1575, D. S.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 120428).
EDINBURG, Texas — A trial court judge did not abuse her discretion when denying a contractor’s third-party lawsuit against a supplier of allegedly defective beams, a Texas appeals court ruled July 26, holding that the contractor failed to provide good cause for its delay in prosecuting its claims against the defendant (Laguna Madre Construction Inc. v. Hope Lumber & Supply Co., No. 13-17-00263-CV, Texas App., 13th Dist., 2018 Tex. App. LEXIS 5738).
COLUMBUS, Ohio — A builder of custom homes on July 27 was ordered by a federal magistrate judge in Ohio to produce four categories of documents regarding sales of homes that were built with joists that contained a flame retardant that allegedly emits levels of formaldehyde that renders homes uninhabitable because the information is relevant to a plaintiff couple’s claims that homes with the joists suffer from a diminution in value (Jamal Coleman, et al. v. Westport Homes Inc., No. 18-mc-31, S.D. Ohio, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125702).
FRESNO, Calif. — A California appeals panel on July 23 reversed an order denying Lennar Fresno Inc.’s motion to dismiss a construction defects lawsuit, finding that the service of the complaint was not impossible, impracticable and futile (Lennar Fresno Inc. v. Superior Court of Fresno County, No. F077256, Calif. App., 5th Dist., 2018 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 5010).
PHILADELPHIA — A Pennsylvania appeals panel on July 16 rejected a couple’s request to reverse a ruling ordering them to arbitrate their claims against Toll Brothers Inc. over alleged construction defects, finding that the decision did not violate their right to due process and that the plaintiffs could always appeal the decision of the arbitrator (Eric Kunz, et al. v. Toll Brothers Inc., et al., No. 3107 EDA 2017, Pa. Super., 2018 Pa. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2502).
CANTON, Ohio — A federal bankruptcy court judge in Ohio on July 5 denied a woman’s motion for summary judgment seeking a ruling that a roofing contractor’s debt is not dischargeable, finding that too many disputes exist as to whether the contractor willfully breached the work agreement and whether he intended to deceive the plaintiff (Rene Lincicome v. Anthony Roofing LLC, et al., Adversary Proceeding No. 17-6024, N.D. Ohio Bkcy., 2018 Bankr. LEXIS 2032).
GEORGETOWN, Del. — A motion to dismiss filed by a contractor accused of negligently installing an addition’s footers, foundation and framing is procedurally defective because it was submitted after he answered the complaint, a couple says in an opposition brief filed July 16 in Delaware state court (Dennis Runsten, et al. v. Burton Builders LLC, No. S18C-05-025, Del. Super., Sussex Co.).
ALLENTOWN, Pa. — A man’s lawsuit against Pella Corp. over allegedly defective windows was dismissed by a federal judge in Pennsylvania on July 11 after he found that the plaintiff was warned July 2 that failure to respond to the motion would result in dismissal (Edward Melhem v. Pella Corp., No. 18-cv-2007, E.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116607).
NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York on July 9 dismissed two of the three third-party claims an interior design firm brought against a renovation contractor and a home automation design and installation firm after finding that the design firm could only pursue a cause of action for implied contractual indemnification (Stefan Matzinger, et al. v. MAC II LLC, et al., No. 17cv4813, S.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113612).
SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Supreme Court on June 29 overturned a trial court judge’s denial of a general contractor’s summary judgment motion, finding that a homeowners association’s lawsuit is barred by the state’s statute of repose because an amended complaint filed more than six years after construction of the homes was completed did not relate back to the original filing (The Gables and Villas at River Oaks Homeowners Association v. Castlewood Builders LLC, No. 20161075, Utah Sup., 2018 Utah LEXIS 80).
RALEIGH, N.C. — A federal bankruptcy court judge in North Carolina on June 25 granted a masonry subcontractor’s motion for summary judgment on a general contractor’s claim for contractual indemnity, finding that the general contractor was unable to provide sufficient evidence to show that its alleged damages stemmed from work outside the scope of the subcontractor’s contractual duties and that the contractor failed to present adequate evidence of proximate causation (In re: New Bern Riverfront Development LLC, Case No. 09-10340-8-SWH, Adversary Proceeding No. 10-00023-AP, E.D. N.C. Bkcy., 2018 Bankr. LEXIS 1923).
BOSTON — A federal judge in Massachusetts on June 8 dismissed a class action suit against the makers of Oasis brand decking after being informed by counsel that the parties had reached a settlement (Anthony Pagliaroni, et al. v. Mastic Home Exteriors Inc., et al., No. 12-10164-DJC, D. Mass.).
TRENTON, N.J. — A federal judge in New Jersey on June 20 dismissed a lawsuit brought by two women against the maker of white cedar shingles that allegedly prematurely warped and developed mold before the expiration of their 50-year warranty, stating that the case has been settled (Ilene Stern, et al. v. Maibec Inc., No. 11-3951, D. N.J.).
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A federal judge in Virginia overseeing lawsuits stemming from flooring sold by Lumber Liquidators Inc. that contained excessive levels of formaldehyde and suits contending that the company’s flooring prematurely scratched, chipped, warped and stained on June 15 preliminarily approved a $36 million settlement to resolve the litigations (In re: Lumber Liquidators Chinese-Manufactured Laminate Flooring Products Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2627, No. 15-md-2627, In re: Lumber Liquidators Chinese-Manufactured Laminate Flooring Durability Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation, MDL 2743, No. 16-md-2743, E.D. Va.).
MORRISTOWN, N.J. — A New Jersey state court jury on June 6 awarded $4.9 million to the owners of a tennis center that partially collapsed in 2014, finding that the general contractor, the company that provided pre-engineered steel for the building and the company that erected the building were liable for construction defects and professional negligence (Grand Slam Partners LLC, et al. v. Adkins Group Inc., et al., No. MRS-L-2984-13, N.J. Super., Morris Co.).