SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge in California on May 15 dismissed a class action complaint against the maker of hurricane straps that allegedly prematurely corrode, finding that the claims are implausible because the plaintiffs did not state what models of straps were applied to their homes and that the manufacturer’s installation guide says some environments may promote corrosion (Cary Cooper, et al. v. Simpson Strong-Tie Co., No. 19-cv-07901, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 86013).
NEW ORLEANS — The federal judge in Louisiana overseeing litigation stemming from allegedly defective drywall made in China on May 11 granted a number of motions for summary judgment filed by a manufacturer defendant arguing that claims brought by plaintiffs in Alabama, Florida, Mississippi and Texas were barred by the states’ statutes of limitations (In re Chinese Manufactured Drywall Products Liability Litigation [Elizabeth Bennett, et al. v. Gebr. Knauf Verwaltungsgesellschaft KG, et al.], MDL 2047, No. 14-2722, E.D. La., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83101).
ORLANDO, Fla. — A state court judge in Florida on May 8 signed an order approving a $1.4 million settlement to resolve a 2017 lawsuit brought by the University of Central Florida (UCF) Stadium Corp. and its board of trustees against the architects, designers and builders over defects in the construction of a football stadium that allegedly resulted in the premature wear of steel framing (UCF Stadium Corp., et al. v. Wharton-Smith Inc., et al., No. 2017-CA-008259, Fla. Cir., Orange Co.).
PHILADELPHIA — A Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 1 ruled that plaintiffs leading class action lawsuits against Owens Corning over allegedly defective roof shingles are not entitled to attorney fees after a ruling reversing summary judgment in favor of the manufacturer was overturned, holding that the decision merely found that the company’s bankruptcy did not bar the plaintiffs’ claims and did not help the plaintiffs prove that there were problems with the shingles (Jaime Gonzalez, et al. v. Owens Corning, et al., No. 19-1538, 3rd Cir., 2020 U.S. App. 14011).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on May 4 denied TAMKO Building Products Inc.’s petition to review an Oklahoma Supreme Court decision to vacate a ruling compelling a couple to arbitrate claims over allegedly defective roofing shingles on the ground that the homeowners had a right to a jury trial under the state’s constitution (TAMKO Building Products Inc. v. Daniel Williams, et al., No. 19-959, U.S. Sup.).
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — An Illinois couple sued a Tennessee home builder in federal court in Tennessee on April 29, complaining that the construction of their retirement “dream home” has been riddled with defects ranging from problems with the interior framing to the masonry work that did not conform to homeowners’ association guidelines (Greg Baker, et al. v. Jamison Homes Inc., No. 20-cv-189, E.D. Tenn.).
LOS ANGELES — A California appeals panel on April 30 affirmed a ruling that a general contractor waived its right to arbitrate construction defect claims brought by a developer, finding that the contractor did not indicate that it would seek arbitration until the developer filed a third amended cross-complaint and that the contractor participated in litigation before requesting arbitration (American BCEGZ, et al. v. Shores LLC, No. B296524, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., 3rd Div., 2020 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 2684).
FORT BEND, Texas — A homebuilder and its president on April 21 filed a notice of appeal in Texas state court stating that they will seek review of a trial court judge’s April 2 ruling denying their motion to compel arbitration (Douglas Duncan Lewis, et al. v. Dimension Homes Inc., et al., No 18-DCV-258117, Texas Dist., 400th Jud. Dist., Fort Bend Co.).
CHARLESTON, S.C. — A woman sued her homebuilder and its president in South Carolina state court on March 11, complaining that defects in the flooring of the home have resulted in a “life safety hazard” (Peyton Sasnett v. Crescent Homes SC LLC, et al., No. 2020-CP-1001328, S.C. Comm. Pls., Charleston Co.).
HARRISBURG, Pa. — A Pennsylvania appeals panel on April 21 affirmed a trial court judge’s decision awarding a couple $222,648.15 in damages and $195,159.20 in attorney fees and costs, finding that the plaintiffs sufficiently demonstrated that a roofing contractor violated the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (UTPCPL) and provisions of the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act (HICPA) and that the subcontractor who installed a roof that was not appropriate for the couple’s home could also be found liable for damages under the statutes (John Brandt, et al. v. Master Force Construction Corp., et al., No. 1080 MDA 2019, Pa. Super., 2020 Pa. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1369).
AUSTIN, Texas — A 7-1 Texas Supreme Court on April 24 vacated a trial court’s imposition of sanctions against an attorney that conducted a push poll survey before a trial involving allegedly defective corrugated stainless steel tubing (CSST) that caused a fatal fire in August 2012, finding that a showing of bad faith was necessary before the trial court could order the attorney to attend 10 hours of legal ethics education and pay $177,005.27 in attorney fees, expenses, fees and costs (William A. Brewer III v. Lennox Hearth Products LLC, et al., No. 18-0426, Texas Sup., 2020 Tex. LEXIS 359).
SAN ANTONIO — A federal judge in Texas on April 22 remanded sua sponte a couple’s construction defects lawsuit against the makers of a manufactured home, holding that the action is not subject to federal jurisdiction because the plaintiffs clearly state in their complaint that they are seeking less than $50,000 on the claim under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (MMWA) (Don A. Payne, et al. v. Oakwood Homes, et al., No. SA-20-cv-00296-XR, W.D. Texas; 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71307).
HARRISBURG, Pa. — A Pennsylvania Superior Court panel on April 21 affirmed a ruling denying Toll Brothers Inc.’s motion to compel arbitration in a couple’s construction defects lawsuit, holding that the plaintiffs never submitted a form that transferred to them the arbitration requirement in a limited warranty that was provided to the original buyers (Stacy Bucklaw, et al. v. Toll Brothers Inc., et al., No. 3255 EDA 2018, Pa. Super., 2020 Pa. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1353).
CHICAGO — A couple filed a lawsuit in Illinois state court April 10 against the contractors who perform work in the HGTV show “Windy City Rehab” and others, complaining that the renovations done on their $1.3 million home was riddled with construction defects and that work was temporarily shut down due to a lack of permits (Shane Jones, et al. v. Alovan LLC, et al., No. 2020-CH-3804, Ill. Cir., Chanc. Div., Cook Co.).
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. — A federal judge in Illinois on April 9 denied Walmart Inc.’s motion to dismiss wrongful death and survival action strict liability claims brought by the representatives of a woman who died in a house fire that was allegedly caused by a defective heat lamp used to prevent pipes from freezing, finding that seller exemption in products liability actions does not apply and that the retailer failed to show that it did not sell the product at issue (David Breeze, et al. v. Bayco Products Inc., et al., No. 19-CV-848-NJR, S.D. Ill., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62460).
PHILADELPHIA — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on April 13 denied three motions to dismiss submitted by subcontractors and building material suppliers named as defendants in a third-party complaint filed by a general contractor accused of construction defects, finding that the complaint sufficiently states claims for negligence, strict liability, indemnification and contribution against the third-party defendants (Milo LLC v. Virgil Procaccino et al., No. 16-5759, E.D. Pa., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64122).
SAN JOSE, Calif. — A California appeals panel on April 10 upheld a trial court judge’s ruling granting a motion for nonsuit filed by defendants accused of selling a woman a condominium unit that had improperly installed flooring and window coverings and the smell of secondhand cigarette smoke that allegedly made the unit uninhabitable, finding that the woman waived her arguments on appeal (Yllka Masada v. Almaden Tower Venture LLC, No. H042584, Calif. App., 6th Dist., 2020 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 2277).
SAN FRANCISCO — The maker of hurricane straps that are allegedly defective because they corrode prematurely moved to dismiss in federal court in California on March 17, arguing that the allegations in an amended class action suit brought by two couples and a Georgia company should be dismissed with prejudice because the amended pleading “is as misguided as the original” (Cary Cooper, et al. v. Simpson Strong-Tie Co. Inc., et al., No. 19-cv-7901, N.D. Calif.).
LOS ANGELES — A California appeals panel on March 11 vacated a trial court judge’s ruling denying a property owner’s motion to compel arbitration in a construction defects suit, finding that enforcement of the agreement was subject the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) and that the statute preempted a state law that allows a purchaser to pursue a construction defect claim against a developer in court even when the sales agreement contains an arbitration clause (Victrola 89 v. Jaman Properties 8 LLC, NO. B295439, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., 4th Div., 2020 Cal. App. LEXIS 199).
NEW ORLEANS — A couple tell the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a March 10 reply brief that a portion of a jury’s verdict that concluded that their redhibitory defect claim against the maker of windows installed on their home was prescribed should be vacated because the prescription period for redhibitory defect claims begins on the date the defect is discovered (Ronald Leo, et al. v. Jeld-Wen Inc., No. 19-30761, 5th Cir.).