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).
HELENA, Mont.— A five-judge panel of the Montana Supreme Court on Dec. 11 affirmed the dismissal of a man’s suit against the designer of a log home and the builder, finding that he is required to arbitrate his claims against them pursuant to a provision in the construction contract (James Peeler v. Rocky Mountain Log Homes Canada Inc., et al., No. DA 18-0086, Mont. Sup., 2018 Mont. LEXIS 433).
CARSON CITY, Nev. — The Nevada Supreme Court on Nov. 28 overturned a trial court’s decision to deny a motion to compel arbitration filed by two developers named as defendants in a construction defects lawsuit, holding that the arbitration provisions in the plaintiffs’ purchase and sales agreements (PSAs) were governed by the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) and enforceable (Greystone Nevada LLC, et al. v. Phuc Le Huynh, et al., No. 68716, Nev. Sup., 2018 Nev. Unpub. LEXIS 1079).
NEW ORLEANS — A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 7 upheld a federal judge in Louisiana’s rulings vacating entry of default judgment against the manufacturer of a slate roof that allegedly leaked and granting the defendant company’s motion for summary judgment, finding that a man was unable to show that the company willfully refused to respond to the complaint and that claims stemming from damages that occurred outside the five-year preemptive period were untimely (Louis R. Koerner Jr. v. CMR Construction & Roofing LLC, No. 18-30019, 5th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 34515).
SAN ANTONIO — A trial court judge erred when finding that a homebuilder accused of construction defects waived its right to arbitration by participating in a couple’s lawsuit, a Texas appeals panel ruled Dec. 5, holding that the couple failed to show that the defendant invoked the judicial process (Anderson-Jenkins Signature Homes Ltd. v. Benjamin Randolph Allen II, et al., No. 04-18-00348-CV, Texas App., 4th Dist., 2018 Tex. App. LEXIS 9967).
CARSON CITY, Nev. — The Nevada Supreme Court on Nov. 28 vacated a trial court judge’s ruling denying a homebuilder’s motion to compel arbitration, holding that arbitration provisions in the homeowners’ purchase and sales agreements (PSAs) were enforceable and governed by the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) (U.S. Home Corp. v. Racal Lanier, et al., No. 68692, Nev. Sup., 2018 Nev. LEXIS 1075).
HOUSTON — A couple sued the builder of their home, as well as a number of subcontractors, in Texas state court on Dec. 3, complaining that defects in the building of the structure have caused water intrusion that resulted in mold growth that has made the home uninhabitable (Jeffrey Parker, et al. v. De La Garza Custom Homes Inc., et al., No. 2018-85944, Texas Dist., 157th Jud. Dist., Harris Co.).
HOUSTON — An African-American couple sued their home builder and three of its employees in Texas federal court Nov. 19 claiming that the defendants’ refusal to repair defects in their newly constructed home violated the Civil Rights Act of 1866, as well as the Texas Residential Construction Liability Act (Matthew Conerly, et al. v. Liberty Home Builders LLC, et al., No. 18-cv-4376, S.D. Texas).
WILMINGTON, Del. — A trial court judge in Delaware on Nov. 13 overturned his earlier ruling dismissing a condominium owners’ association’s construction defects claims against a masonry subcontractor, holding that the decision that claims were barred by the doctrine of res judicata was “simply wrong” (Washington House Condominium Association of Owners, et al. v. Daystar Sills Inc., et al., No. N15C-01-108 WCC CCLD, Del. Super., New Castle Co., 2018 Del. Super. LEXIS 1316).
WILMINGTON, Del. — A Delaware judge on Nov. 9 denied a motion to dismiss a couple’s construction defect suit filed by Toll Brothers Inc., Toll Bros. Inc., Tenby Hunt Inc. and Toll Architecture Inc., finding that neither an arbitration provision in the homeowners’ sales agreement nor their home warranty barred their action (Frederick Wang, et al. v. Hockessin Chase L.P., et al., No. N15C-03-066 WC, Del. Super., New Castle Co., 2018 Del. Super. LEXIS 1322).
NEW ORLEANS — A couple sued Pella Corp. on Nov. 19 in Louisiana federal court, complaining that the manufacturer sold defective windows and doors that were installed in their home that allowed water intrusion, leading to structural damage and termite infestations (Maryann Rooney, et al. v. Pella Corp., No. 18-cv-11158, E.D. La.).
LOS ANGELES — A California judge did not err when denying a woman’s motions for judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) and for a new trial against a subcontractor accused of shoddy workmanship, a state appeals panel ruled Nov. 16, holding that the judge properly found that the evidence established that the subcontractor performed work only at the instruction of the project’s general contractor and that there was insufficient evidence to support a verdict that the subcontractor was guilty of negligence (Lauren Cazden v. Josue Cisneros Espinoza, No. B281837, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., 4th Div., 2018 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 7704).