MONTGOMERY, Ala. — An Alabama Supreme Court panel on May 17 upheld a trial court judge’s ruling that a forum-selection clause in the membership agreement for Angie’s List Inc. is enforceable and requires a father and son to litigate their claims against the service in Indiana (Jessie Castleberry, et al. v. Angie’s List Inc., No. 1180241, Ala. Sup., 2019 Ala. LEXIS 47).
AUSTIN, Texas — A couple who purchased a home are required to arbitrate their construction defects claims against the builder because newly discovered evidence revealed that the buyers obtained relief from the 10-year home warranty, a Texas appeals panel ruled May 16 in overturning a lower court’s decision denying a motion to compel arbitration (Toll Dallas TX LLC v. Edith Dusing, et al., No. 03-18-00099-CV, Texas App., 3rd Dist., 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 3947).
NEW ORLEANS — A federal judge in Louisiana on May 15 remanded a class action against Brad Pitt’s foundation over construction defects in homes that were built following Hurricane Katrina, finding that the local controversy exception to the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) narrowly applied to the plaintiffs’ action (Lloyd Francis, et al. v. Make It Right-New Orleans LLC, et al., No. 18-cv-09906, E.D. La., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82510).
HOUSTON — A Texas appeals court panel on May 16 affirmed a trial court judge’s ruling barring a couple from obtaining attorney fees and expert fees under the state’s Residential Construction Liability Act (RCLA), holding that the statute does not allow a private cause of action to recover those fees (Daniel Mitchell, et al. v. D.R. Horton-Emerald Ltd., No. 01-18-00755-CV, Texas App., 1st Dist., 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 4005).
HARRISBURG, Pa. — A Pennsylvania appeals panel on May 14 affirmed a trial court judge’s ruling awarding summary judgment to a subcontractor in a suit brought by a condominium owners association over its installation of French doors that leaked, holding that the lower court properly found that the association’s claims were barred by the gist of the action doctrine as well as the four-year statute of limitations (Villas at Packer Park Condominium Association v. JPC Group Inc., et al., No. 827 EDA 2018, Pa. Super., 2019 Pa. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1890).
RIVERSIDE, Calif. — A California appeals court panel on May 13 held that a trial court judge did not err when dismissing claims for fraud and under California’s unfair competition law (UCL) brought by homeowners accusing a builder of construction defects, finding that evidence that could have been used to support the claims was properly stricken as part of discovery sanctions imposed upon the plaintiffs after the first phase of the trial (Edward Guillen, et al. v. Centex Homes, et al., No. E066028, Calif. App., 4th Dist., 2nd Div., 2019 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 3310).
WILMINGTON, Del. — A federal magistrate judge in Delaware on May 10 denied a couple’s motion to vacate an arbitration award they obtained from a home warranty company over defects in the construction of their home, finding that they were unable to show that the arbitrator violated the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) when reaching his decision (Jason Jones, et al. v. Home Buyers Warranty, et al., No. 17-773-JFB,SRF, D. Del., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS).
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A Michigan appeals panel on May 9 affirmed a general contractor’s summary judgment award, holding that a notice provision in a home warranty provided to a woman clearly informed her that she had one year from the issuance of the certificate of occupancy to inform the builder of any construction defects (Karen K. Beer v. Kropf Construction Consulting LLC, et al., No. 342666, Mich. App., 2019 Mich. App. LEXIS 1827).
BEAUFORT, S.C. — A federal judge in South Carolina on May 8 ordered jurisdictional discovery on the relationship between two companies in a lawsuit brought by a couple claiming that the roofing shingles installed on their home are defective in order to determine if they are alter egos of each other (Angelo Guagliano, et al. v. Cameron & Cameron Custom Homes LLC, et al., No. 19-cv-0839-RMG, D. S.C., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77703).
DANBURY, Conn. — A Connecticut judge on April 5 dismissed a business owner’s claims for negligence and breach of warranty stemming from the allegedly defective installation of a cedar roof, finding that the negligence claim was barred by the economic-loss doctrine and that the claim for breach of warranty was duplicative of a claim for breach of contract (Nordic Builders Inc. v. Trademarc Construction Inc., No. DBD-CV-18-6025176-S, Conn. Super., Danbury Dist., 2019 Conn. Super. LEXIS 642).
BEAUFORT, S.C. — A federal judge in South Carolina on April 2 denied a country club owner’s motion to reconsider a December 2018 decision that the three-year statute of limitations barred the plaintiffs’ construction defects claims against an architect and general contractor on claims regarding water damage to a clubhouse, holding that new evidence provided by the owner did not sufficiently demonstrate that it did not know about the cause of the damage until destructive testing occurred in 2017 (Hampton Hall LLC v. Chapman Coyle Chapman & Associates Architects AIA Inc., et al., No. 17-1575, D. S.C., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57072).
RICHMOND, Texas — A Texas couple sued the builder of their home in state court on March 1, alleging that construction defects by the defendant caused mold growth that will require extensive remediation and replacement of their possessions (Nick Smith, et al. v. Trendmaker Homes Inc., No. 19-DCV-260160, Texas Dist., 400th Jud. Dist., Fort Bend Co.).
URBANA, Ill. — The federal judge in Illinois presiding over litigation stemming from allegedly defective organic asphalt roofing shingles made by IKO Manufacturing Inc. on April 11 recommended terminating the proceedings because the $30 million settlement resolving the actions has been finalized and because the judge does not anticipate any further actions (In re: IKO Roofing Shingle Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2104, Case No. 09-md-2104, C.D. Ill.).
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — A federal judge in Alabama on April 16 ruled that a couple must arbitrate their claims against a home builder accused of failing to construct a home with wheelchair accessibility, finding that the provision was enforceable and not unconscionable (Jane Doe, et al. v. Stoneridge Homes Inc., et al., No. 18-cv-2101-CLS, N.D. Ala., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64791).
TRENTON, N.J. — A federal judge in New Jersey on April 11 entered final approval of a $43.5 million settlement for a class of homeowners who allege that cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) plumbing systems made by NIBCO Inc. are defective because they fail prematurely, causing water leaks, but modified the definition of the class to exclude from the class homes that were built in certain areas so the builders and contractors could also pursue claims against the manufacturer (Kimberly Cole, et al. v. NIBCO Inc., No. 13-cv-07871, D. N.J.).
AKRON, Ohio — The University of Akron sued the designer, construction manager, concrete contractor and grout provider that worked on its football stadium in Ohio state court on April 10, alleging that the defective installation of the railing system has made the stadium unsafe and that it will cost $1 million to repair (University of Akron v. HNTB Ohio Inc., et al., No. CV-2019-04-1389, Ohio Comm. Pls., Summit Co.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPMDL) on April 2 consolidated and centralized in South Carolina federal court seven lawsuits filed in different states claiming that Allura and Maxitile brands of fiber cement siding made by Plycem USA LLC and Elementia S.A.B. De. C.V. are defective because they prematurely crack and split and that the makers misrepresented the products’ durability (In re: Allura Fiber Cement Siding Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2886, JPMDL, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57061).
WILMINGTON, Del. — Three Delaware couples sued the builder of their homes in state court on April 22, alleging that defects in the construction of the buildings allowed for water intrusion that caused damage to the structure’s envelope and other property damage (Greg Porter, et al. v. Capano Homes Inc., No. N19C-04-208, Del. Super., New Castle Co.).
HACKENSACK, N.J. — A New Jersey couple filed suit in state court on April 4, seeking to vacate an arbitration award in favor of their home builder on the ground that the proceeding violated the New Jersey Uniform Arbitration Act because the arbitrator was partial to the builder and had conversations during the proceeding with the builder’s representative that were outside their earshot (Bethany Hills, et al. v. Hudson 661 LLC, et al., No. BER-L-002622-19, N.J. Super., Bergen Co.).
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Alaska Supreme Court on April 12 reinstated a subcontractor’s suit accusing a general contractor of fraud and misrepresentation as part of the construction of a restaurant in Hawaii, finding that a settlement agreement entered into between the parties superseded the parties’ subcontract, which included a dispute resolution clause that required mediation (SMJ General Construction LLC v. Jet Commercial Construction LLC, Nos. S-16785, S-16985, Ala. Sup., 2019 Alas. LEXIS 50).