CLEVELAND — An Ohio appeals panel on Jan. 10 upheld a ruling finding that a man’s second lawsuit against the company that allegedly did faulty work when repairing the foundation of his home was properly dismissed, holding that the action was barred by the doctrine of res judicata because the suit involved the same claims against the same parties (James Perk v. Tomorrows Home Solutions, et al., No. 107012, Ohio App., 8th Dist., 2019 Ohio App. LEXIS 111).
HONOLULU — A federal judge in Hawaii on Jan. 15 overruled a construction company’s objections to a magistrate judge’s recommendation to deny its request for attorney fees and costs, holding that the company was not a prevailing party in a construction defects lawsuit because the action was not dismissed based on the merits of the case (Ward Management Development LLC v. Nordic PCL Construction Inc., No. 17-00568, D. Hawaii, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8163).
MINNEAPOLIS — A federal judge in Minnesota on Jan. 2 overruled Weyerhaeuser Co.’s objections to a magistrate judge’s July 30 ruling denying its motion to compel arbitration, holding that a man’s claims are not subject to the arbitration provision in a home purchase agreement (HPA) because he brought suit before he closed on the sales agreement (Dennis Esanbock, et al. v. Weyerhaeuser Co., No. 17-cv-3702, D. Minn., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105).
BOSTON — In a statewide class action filed Jan. 22 in Massachusetts federal court, a woman alleges that a company’s use of an excessive amount of fly ash during the manufacturing of fiber cement siding causes the product to prematurely crack, split and break (Antonetta Luongo v. Allura USA LLC, et al., No. 19-cv-10143-IT, D. Mass.).
WILMINGTON, Del. — A Delaware state court judge on Jan. 7 denied in part a home builder’s motion for summary judgment, finding that a couple’s water intrusion expert’s opinion was admissible and that the plaintiffs waived their right to a jury trial because their allegations stem from an alleged breach of a 2006 sales agreement (Paul Agostini, et al. v. Blenheim at Augustine Creek LLC, No. N16C-06-167 CLS, Del. Super., New Castle Co., 2018 Del. Super. LEXIS 8).
FLORENCE, S.C. — A federal judge in South Carolina on Jan. 22 dismissed a class action accusing D.R. Horton Inc. of forcing home buyers to waive the warranty of habitability as part of their purchase of a new home, finding that the plaintiffs did not suffer an injury-in-fact because they do not allege that the homes have any construction defects (Hyland Winnie Jr., et al. v. D.R. Horton Inc., No. 18-cv-01023-RBH, D. S.C., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9715).
PITTSBURGH— A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Jan. 11 adopted a magistrate judge’s report and recommendation to deny remand of a couple’s construction defects suit based on the improper joinder of an in-state flooring supplier (Nicholas Tripodes, et al. v. NVR Inc., et al., No. 18-1131, W.D. Pa., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5107).
PITTSBURGH — A Pennsylvania couple should be allowed to pursue their claims for breach of contract and breach of express and implied warranties against their home builder over defects in the flooring installed in their home, as well as the heating, air conditioning and ventilation system, a federal magistrate judge said in a Jan. 11 report and recommendation denying in part the builder’s motion to dismiss, finding that it is unclear whether the causes of action are untimely (Nicholas Tripodes, et al. v. NVR Inc., et al., No. 18-1131, W.D. Pa., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6464).
PASADENA, Calif. — A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Jan. 10 affirmed the dismissal of a class action against an air conditioner manufacturer regarding allegedly defective evaporator coils, finding that the plaintiffs’ warranty claims were barred by California’s four-year statute of limitations and that the plaintiffs failed to state claims for relief under the Right of Repair Act (RORA) and Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA) (Joanna Park-Kim, et al. v. Daikin Applied Industries Inc., No. 17-55566, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 920).
OAKLAND, Calif. — An in-state supplier that allegedly failed to abide by the terms of an oral settlement agreement to resolve a woman’s claims over defective windows installed in her home is properly joined to her breach of contract action against the window manufacturer, a federal judge in California ruled Jan. 7 in granting the woman’s motion to remand, holding that her cause of action was equitably tolled (Theresa Teuma v. Marvin Lumber & Cedar Co., et al., No. 18-cv-06561-PJH, N.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2818).
HACKENSACK, N.J.— A New Jersey couple on Jan. 4 filed a complaint in state court accusing a flooring maker, a wholesale distributor and contractor of selling and installing defective unfinished hickory engineered plank flooring and failing to repair and replace the product despite an agreement to do so (Limor Regular, et al v. Highlander Hardwood Floors, et al., No. BER-L-000092-19, N.J. Super., Bergen Co.).
COLUMBIA, S.C. — A 3-2 Supreme Court of South Carolina on Jan. 4 found that the eight-year statute of repose for construction defect claims begins to run on the date of substantial completion rather that the date a certificate of occupancy is issued and that a 2015 amendment to South Carolina Code Section 15-3-640 did not supersede its earlier ruling in Ocean Winds Corp. of Johns Island v. Lane, 347 S.C. 416, 556 S.E. 2d (2001) (Mark Lawrence v. General Panel Corp., No. 2017-002350, S.C. Sup., 2019 S.C. LEXIS 1).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A trial court judge in Florida did not need to conduct a hearing pursuant to Frye v. United States to determine if the opinions proffered by two experts for a condominium association were admissible, a state appeals court panel ruled Dec. 27, explaining that the judge found that the opinions were reliable under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals and that the experts used a peer-reviewed methodology that was the industry standard on the proper application of stucco (D.R. Horton Inc. — Jacksonville v. Heron’s Landing Condominium Association of Jacksonville, Inc., No. 1D17-1941, Fla. App., 1st Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 18668).
CHICAGO — An Illinois Appellate Court panel on Dec. 28 vacated a trial court’s ruling denying a motion to dismiss a condominium association’s construction defects lawsuit, finding that an amendment to the association’s declaration that removed a dispute resolution clause was not retroactive and that the claims are subject to mediation (Siena at Old Orchard Condominium Association, et al. v. Siena at Old Orchard LLC, et al., No. 1-18-2133, Ill. App., 1st Dist., 2018 Ill. App. LEXIS 1004).
RENO, Nev. — Lennar Reno LLC and Lennar Reno LLC, doing business as Lennar Homes, and homeowners accusing the builder of selling them homes with defective foundations said in a Dec. 13 order filed in Nevada federal court that they have agreed to remand the action to Nevada state court and arbitrate the claims (William G. Kraus, et al. v. Lennar Reno LLC, et al., No. 18-cv-00120, D. Nev., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 213776).
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — A 6-1 Illinois Supreme Court on Dec. 27 overturned rulings finding that an association of condominium owners can pursue claims for breach of the implied warranty of habitability against subcontractors who built the development, finding that there was no privity between the parties and that the claims are based on contract law, not tort law (Sienna Court Condominium Association v. Champion Aluminum Corp., et al., No. 122022, Ill. Sup., 2018 Ill. LEXIS 1244).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Pulte Group Inc. and Pulte Home Co. (collectively, Pulte) on Dec. 27 agreed to pay $4.7 million to homeowners for out-of-pocket expenses to resolve a suit brought by Florida Attorney General Pamela Jo Bondi that accused the builder of violating the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA) when handling complaints from homeowners over defectively installed stucco (Office of the Attorney General v. Pulte Group Inc., et al., No. 2018 CA 02723, Fla. Cir., Leon Co.).
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — A Florida appellate panel on Dec. 14 vacated in part a ruling awarding summary judgment to subcontractors in a suit brought by a general contractor over construction defects, finding that there is enough of a relationship between the parties to support the contractor’s claim for common-law indemnity (CB Contractors LLC v. Allens Steel Products Inc., et al., Nos. 5D17-1384, 5D17-1606, 5D17-2129, Fla. App., 5th Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 18140).
PHILADELPHIA — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Dec. 14 denied a motion to compel arbitration filed by the manufacturer of joists that allegedly emit harmful levels of formaldehyde, finding that it was not a party to home purchase agreements (HPAs) between the builder of the homes and the owners that contain an arbitration provision (Kristina Kipp, et al. v. Weyerhaeuser Co., No. 17-3958, E.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 211483).
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — A Florida appeals panel on Dec. 14 vacated and remanded a ruling denying a homebuilder’s motion to compel arbitration, finding that homeowners’ claims over water intrusion that caused damage to their homes are related to the construction contract (Vanacore Construction Inc. v. Carolyn E. Osborn, et al., No. 5D18-598, Fla. App., 5th Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 18068).