DALLAS — A Texas appellate court on Oct. 5 reversed a trial court’s order denying homeowners’ motion to compel arbitration with their construction company because the arbitration agreement incorporated the rules of the American Arbitration Association (AAA) by delegating questions of arbitrability to the arbitrator, not to the court.
FRESNO, Calif. — Denying a petition for writ of mandate seeking relief from a discovery production order by the owners of a condominium complex accused of construction defects violations, a California appeals panel on Oct. 4 found that the petition was “wholly without merit” and was filed frivolously as a delay tactic, making sanctions appropriate.
CLEVELAND — Breach of express warranty claims and some claims for declaratory and injunctive relief survive against all defendants that manufactured or sold a plastic piping product that homeowners in a class action complaint allege failed prematurely and damaged their properties, but a federal judge in Ohio allowed other claims to survive only against certain defendants and dismissed the remainder of the claims in a Sept. 8 ruling on multiple motions to dismiss.
NEW CASTLE, Del. — Because construction companies knew that the two leaks in a couple’s home two years apart “were evidence of a more pervasive problem,” and the companies told the homeowners that the issue had been “investigated and fully repaired,” genuine issues of material fact remain about hidden construction defects, and a trial court erred in granting summary judgment to the construction companies, homeowners argue in a Sept. 2 reply brief to the Delaware Supreme Court.
SAN DIEGO — California homeowners’ putative class claims accusing the developers of their neighborhood of constructing a reservoir that delivered “defective” water to their homes that damaged their plumbing and caused health problems failed to make any allegations of willful misconduct until after a developer argued that their claims were time-barred, a California appellate panel ruled Aug. 31 in an unpublished opinion, affirming a trial court’s summary judgment ruling.
MIAMI — Objections to subpoenas filed in the consolidated class complaint brought by estates and residents of a Surfside, Fla., condominium high-rise that partially collapsed on June 24 were filed between Sept. 16 and 20 by the company hired to conduct a structural engineering analysis of the building several years prior to the collapse, a law firm and the general contractor of adjacent high-rise.
CARSON CITY, Nev. — The Nevada Supreme Court on Sept. 23 denied contractors’ petition for a writ of mandamus, affirming a trial court’s retroactive application of an amendment to a defects recovery statute extending the repose period from six to 10 years that allowed the city of North Las Vegas’ claims to be revived against the contractors in a construction defects case.
HOUSTON — An expert affidavit merely identifies potential issues in windstorm certification and its list of unrelated construction defects cannot form the basis of a negligence case, an engineering firm tells the Texas Supreme Court in urging review on Sept. 2 (Paul Engineering Inc. v. Sea Scout Base Galveston and Point Glass LLC, No. 21-0761, Texas Sup.).
SAN ANTONIO — A federal magistrate judge in Texas on Sept. 9 denied a motion for leave to communicate with more than 400 class members in a faulty polyethylene (PEX) piping lawsuit where there is a preliminarily approved settlement; the motion was filed by the attorney in a parallel class complaint who argued that the class members are unaware of what relief the $7.65 million settlement will actually provide.
NEW YORK — Condominium boards of the 432 Park Condominium sued the developer and its affiliates on Sept. 23 for no less than $125 million in New York state court for construction and design defects in the common elements and areas of the 102-story residential building.
CARSON CITY, Nev. — The Supreme Court of Nevada issued a remittitur Sept. 7 in a negligence case just over a month after the high court determined that a homeowners’ association’s claims against the companies involved in the construction of the rockery walls that support their terraced lots brought their claims too late where there was no showing of intentional fraud.
TAMPA, Fla. — A Florida appellate court on Aug. 20 affirmed a trial court ruling that an arbitration agreement between a builder and lessor could not be enforced as to a lessee who sustained a traumatic brain injury in a fall through an attic floor that allegedly had a latent design and construction defect.
NEW CASTLE, Del. — Homeowners and a contractor notified a Delaware trial judge on Aug. 12 that they settled the homeowners’ lawsuit, following a May 2019 ruling that the lawsuit, which accused the contractor of failing to properly repair the stucco on their home, was not barred by the state’s three-year statute of limitations.
MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A West Virginia federal judge on Sept. 3 granted a homeowner’s motion to remand a class defects case to state court because a roofer failed to establish the requisite amount in controversy to trigger diversity jurisdiction.
CINCINNATI — A magistrate judge on Sept. 3 recommended that a federal judge in Ohio compel arbitration between homeowners alleging claims including negligence and breach of warranty and a builder because the arbitration agreement was valid and enforceable, ruling that it was entered into and signed by all parties with no disadvantages to either.
AUSTIN, Texas — A Texas appellate panel on Aug. 30 denied a request for rehearing filed by Texas homeowners who accused their builder of defective construction and argued that the appellate judges erred when they issued an order on June 30 reversing a trial court’s order denying the builder’s plea in abatement and motion to compel arbitration.
OLYMPIA, Wash. — A contractor could not be held liable for defects found in the construction of a town center because the construction aligned with the client’s design plan and the client failed to show that an affirmative defense jury instruction was prejudiced enough to mislead the jury in favor of the contractor, the Washington Supreme Court ruled Sept. 2, reversing and remanding to the appellate court.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A Florida appellate panel issued a per curiam affirmance on Sep. 9 of a trial court’s ruling compelling arbitration of construction defects claims brought by a homeowners’ association against the developer for the 71 townhome units the developer showed were owned by the original purchasers.
ATLANTA — The Georgia Court of Appeals on Aug. 5 issued a remittitur to a trial court following its July 13 dismissal for lack of jurisdiction of an appeal challenging the court’s order compelling arbitration of a construction defects dispute because the order was interlocutory and nonappealable and the appellant failed to obtain a certificate of immediate review from the trial court.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A homeowner presented sufficient evidence to establish genuine issues of material fact regarding when his action accrued and whether the builder of his home fraudulently concealed construction defects, the Tennessee Court of Appeals held July 26, vacating the trial court’s summary judgment in favor of the builder.