BATON ROUGE, La. — A federal judge in Louisiana on June 25 refused to reconsider two previous rulings that precluded a woman’s expert from testifying about the costs of repairs for construction defects, finding that the expert was merely parroting the testimony of a lay witness (Janet Jeanes v. Greg McBride, et al., No. 16-1259, W.D. La., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107318).
GALVESTON, Texas — The owners of a beachfront home along the Gulf of Mexico filed suit in Texas state court on June 24 against a contractor they hired to repair water damage, complaining that the work was done negligently and did not remedy the problem (Mario Pantoja, et al. v. Kona International Inc., et al., No. 19-cv-1146, Texas Dist., 56th Jud., Galveston Co.).
LAKE CHARLES, La. — A Louisiana appeals court panel on June 5 overturned a trial court’s ruling vacating an arbitration award to plaintiffs who claim that components of a mobile home they purchased were defective, finding that the defendant companies were unable to show that the arbitrator exceeded his authority when addressing the issue of preemption and by finding in favor of the plaintiffs (Carl C. Brown Jr., et al. v. Kabco Builders Inc., et al., No. 18-928, La. App., 3rd Cir., 2019 La. App. LEXIS 1046).
BATON ROUGE, La. — A federal judge in Louisiana on June 24 granted a woman’s motion to preclude a defense expert from testifying on legal conclusions about her responsibilities as a contractor but found that her challenges to the opinions on design defects in a building went to the weight of his testimony (Janet Jeanes v. Greg McBride, et al., No. 16-1259, W.D. La., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105136).
HARRISBURG, Pa. — A Pennsylvania appeals panel on June 21 upheld a trial court judge’s ruling ordering defendants to pay $748,287.67 to a homeowner who claimed that the installation of defective windows resulted in water infiltration and property damage, finding that the plaintiff’s claims were not barred by the two-year statute of limitations and that his negligence claims were not barred by the gist-of-the-action doctrine (Leo J. Dolan Jr., et al. v. Hurd Millwork Company Inc., et al., No. 2951 EDA 2015, Pa. Super., 2019 Pa. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2402).
PHOENIX — An Arizona appeals panel on June 4 upheld a lower court’s decision that the state’s eight-year statute of repose barred a contractor’s third-party claims for indemnification from a subcontractor, finding that the discussions to repair alleged construction defects pursuant to the Purchaser Dwelling Act did not toll the period of repose and that the contractor knew that the subcontractor would not indemnify it as early as 2014 (R.E.P. Custom Builders Inc. v. McBride Excavating Corp., et al., No. 1 CA-CV 18-0358, Ariz. App., 1st Div., 2019 Ariz. App. Unpub. LEXIS 653).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A five-judge panel of the Connecticut Supreme Court on June 25 affirmed the dismissal of lawsuits against subcontractors accused of negligence when performing their duties constructing a building, finding that the property owners’ lawsuits were barred by the doctrine of res judicata because the subcontractors were in privity with the general contractor when the plaintiffs arbitrated their claims with the general contractor (John Girolametti Jr., et al. v. Michael Horton Associates Inc., et al., Nos. SC 20032, SC 20033, SC 20034, SC 20035, SC 20036, Conn. Sup., 2019 Conn. LEXIS 172).
TOLEDO, Ohio — An Ohio appeals court panel on June 7 found that while a couple’s occupancy of a home before making the final payment to the builder relieved the builder from having to cure any defects under the construction contract, they could pursue claims that the builder was negligent and breached the terms of the contract and implied warranties (John DeFoe, et al. v. Schoen Builders LLC, et al., No. WD-18-031, Ohio App., 6th Dist., 2019 Ohio App. LEXIS 2358).
WAUKESHA, Wis. — An appeals court judge in Wisconsin on June 5 upheld a trial court judge’s ruling ordering a contractor to reimburse a woman for the faulty installation of an addition to her deck, finding that the contractor failed to properly object during trial to the admission of a new inspection report and photographs and did not propose alternative remedies to reimbursement at the conclusion of the trial (Elizabeth J. Ballman v. RJM Remodeling & Development, No. 2018AP1508, Wis. App., 2nd Dist., 2019 Wisc. App. LEXIS 316).
NEW LONDON, Conn. — A trial court judge in Connecticut on April 3 ordered a company that sold allegedly defective decking to a man to pay him $9,438.92 for reinstalling a new deck and $60,000 in attorney fees, holding that the company breached an oral agreement to perform the work (Randy Murallo v. United Builders Supply Co. Inc., No. CV 13-5014614, Conn. Super., New London, 2019 Conn. Super. LEXIS 991).
NEW CASTLE, Del. — A Delaware judge on May 20 denied a contractor’s motion to dismiss a couple’s lawsuit accusing it of failing to properly repair the stucco on their home, holding that the action is not barred by the state’s three-year statute of limitations (James Brooks, et al. v. R.L. Vazquez Construction Inc., No. N19C-01-192 VLM, Del. Super., New Castle Co.).
PITTSBURGH — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on May 28 dismissed a home builder’s breach of express warranty claim against Andersen Windows Inc., holding that the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction because a couple’s claims against the builder stem from the improper installation of the windows rather than defects in the windows (Timothy Wright, et al. v. Patrick Schultz, et al., No. 18-938, W.D. Pa., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89053).
NEW ORLEANS — Three manufacturers of Chinese drywall and plaintiffs in class action lawsuits in Florida, Louisiana and Virginia on May 25 informed the federal judge in Louisiana overseeing the multidistrict litigation for actions contending that the drywall emitted odors and damaged components of their homes that they have reached a possible settlement (In re: Chinese-Manufactured Drywall Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2047, E.D. La.).
PHOENIX — An Arizona appeals panel on May 23 overturned a trial court judge’s ruling awarding summary judgment to a general contractor seeking $2.3 million in indemnification from the manufacturer of an allegedly defective plumbing part, holding that the contractor was not entitled to indemnification because it was not a seller of the part pursuant to Arizona Revised Statute (A.R.S.) Section 12-681(9) (Okland Construction Company Inc. v. Zurn Industries LLC, et al., No. 1 CA-CV-18-0249, Ariz. App., 1st Div., 2019 Ariz. App. Unpub. LEXIS 617).
CHICAGO — A couple who was awarded an $800,835 judgment against the developer who built their home for construction defects can attempt to obtain the amount from a development company that was formed shortly after the judgment was entered, a federal judge in Illinois ruled May 23 after granting the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment on claims for successor liability and piercing the corporate veil (Anthony Puntillo, et al. v. Dave Knecht Homes LLC, et al., No. 15 CV 11839, N.D. Ill., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87223).
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — A condominium owners association on May 21 filed suit in New Jersey state court against the complex’s developer, contractors and subcontractors, claiming that the defendants are responsible for defectively built common areas and that they misrepresented that construction complied with local building codes (Harbortown Sail Condominium Association Inc. v. Harbortown Sail LLC, et al., No. MID-L-003923-19, N.J. Super., Middlesex Co.).
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).