TAMPA, Fla. — A federal judge in Florida on Oct. 16 denied a home designer’s motion to dismiss an amended class action suit accusing it of designing homes in the MacDill Air Force Base that were riddled with construction defects that allowed for mold infestation, finding that the complaint is not a shotgun pleading and that residents have standing to bring their claims (Joshua Lenz, et al. v. Michaels Organization LLC, et al., No. 19-cv-2950-T, M.D. Fla., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 191967).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — An arbitration clause containing no delegation of gateway questions to arbitrator means a court, not an arbitrator, decides arbitrability, Archer and White Sales Inc., a dental product company, argues in its respondent brief filed Oct. 13 in the U.S. Supreme Court, adding that incorporation of American Arbitration Association (AAA) rules doesn’t change anything (Henry Schein Inc. v. Archer and White Sales Inc., No. 19-963, U.S. Sup.).
EASTERN HATTIESBURG, Miss. — A federal magistrate judge in Mississippi on Oct. 8 granted an apartment complex owner’s motion to strike a supplemental expert disclosure submitted by the builder, finding that the submission was untimely and that an expert’s opinion on continued deterioration was not a “new opinion” because the parties acknowledged that the building would continue to incur damages if water intrusion from construction defects was allowed to continue (Cross Creek Multifamily LLC v. ICI Construction Inc., et al., No. 18-cv-83, S.D. Miss., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 186717).
HARRISBURG, Pa. — A Pennsylvania appeals panel on Oct. 5 quashed an appeal brought by a homebuilder and the company that sold newly constructed homes to buyers who later filed a construction defects lawsuit, finding that the court lacked jurisdiction under the collateral order doctrine (Christopher A. Calabretta, et al. v. Guidi Homes Inc., et al., No. 2001 EDA 2019, Pa. Super., 2020 Pa. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 3123).
JERSEY CITY, N.J. — A New Jersey appeals panel on Oct. 2 reversed the dismissal of a portion of a condominium owners association's lawsuit against the makers of windows that allegedly leaked and caused water damage, finding that the association could have standing to bring suit pursuant to a historic preservation easement in the deed to the building (Rialto-Capitol Condominium Association Inc. v. Baldwin Assets Associates Urban Renewal Co., et al., No. A-3502-18T3, N.J. Super., App. Div., 2020 N.J. Super. LEXIS 216).
HOUSTON — A Texas appeals panel on Oct. 1 affirmed a lower court's ruling that a woman whose claims were brought on behalf of her minor children against a homebuilder accused of construction defects that caused mold growth are not subject to arbitration because the children were not third-party beneficiaries to the home purchase agreement (Taylor Morrison Homes of Texas Inc., et al. v. Erin Skufca, et al., Non. 09-19-943, Texas App., 1st Dist., 2020 Tex. App. LEXIS 7855).
RALEIGH, N.C. — A North Carolina appeals panel on Sept. 10 denied a townhome owners association's request to rehear arguments that it has associational standing to pursue claims against a window maker on behalf of individual owners for damages that occurred to siding from high heat radiating from the windows (Shearon Farms Townhome Owners Association II Inc. v. Shearon Farms Development LLC, et al., No. COA18-1308, N.C. App.).
LAFAYETTE, La. — Jeld-Wen Inc. says in a Sept. 24 objection to a federal magistrate judge in Louisiana's report and recommendation to grant a couple's motion to remand that the decision should be modified to reflect that the seller of allegedly defective windows and doors is improperly joined and that the plaintiffs fail to sufficiently allege that the products were defective prior to the time of sale (Kent Maddox, et al. v. Chaney Lumber & Supply Inc., et al., No. 20-873, W.D. La.).
Plaintiffs in three individual lawsuits filed in September in state courts in New York, Texas and Florida complain that defects in the construction of two homes and a brick screening wall were defective and could not be discovered without the help of professionals (BK131 LLC v. S1ST LLC, et al., No. 518121/2020, N.Y. Sup., Kings Co., Meritage Homes of Texas LLC v. ETL Elite Landscape Inc., No. 20-2997, N.D. Texas, Steven Asciuitto, et al. v. KB Home Orlando LLC, No. 2020-2204, Fla. Cir., 18th Jud. Dist., Seminole Co.).
NEW ORLEANS — The federal judge overseeing litigation stemming from allegedly defective Chinese-made drywall on Sept. 8 dismissed claims brought by three Mississippi residents after they failed to appear for court-ordered depositions and submit to property inspections (In re: Chinese-Manufactured Drywall Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2047, [Elizabeth Bennett, et al. v. Gebr. Knauf Verwaltungsgesellschaft KG et al., No. 14-2722], E.D. La.).
SANFORD, Fla. — The subcontractor that applied cement fiberboard siding at a 70-unit townhome development that has experienced water intrusion as the result of alleged construction defects says in a Sept. 30 motion filed in Florida state court that the owners association's lawsuit should be stayed because it failed to provide notice required by Florida law and that it should be dismissed for failure to state a claim (Mitchell Creek Homeowners Association Inc. v. Beazer Homes Corp., et al., No. 2020-CA-2184, Fla. Cir., 18th Jud. Cir., Seminole Co.).
FORT BEND, Texas — A woman says in an Aug. 26 opposition brief filed in Texas state court that her lawsuit accusing a flooring company of unprofessional work should not be dismissed for lack of prosecution because the Texas Supreme Court has suspended trials in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and because she is not required to file a request for a trial-setting or docket control order (DCO) (Cinderella Madison v. My Flooring Sugarland LLC, et al., No. 18-DCV-253264, Texas Dist., 434th Jud. Dist., Fort Bend Co.).
BEAUMONT, Texas — A Texas appeals panel on Sept. 3 conditionally granted a petition for a writ of mandamus filed by a homebuilder and its affiliates, finding that a trial court judge erred when compelling them to produce financial records to a man who claims that defects in the construction of the home caused him to sustain injuries when he fell down the steps (In re: Elara Signature Homes Inc., et al., No. 09-20-150, Texas App., 9th Dist., 2020 Tex. App. LEXIS 7151).
PITTSBURGH — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Aug. 18 ordered a couple and a homebuilder to mediate claims arising over alleged construction defects, finding that the case is suitable for alternative dispute resolution (Laura Catena, et al. v. NVR Inc. doing business as Heartland Homes of PA, No. 20-CV-00160-MJH, W.D. Pa.).
BATON ROUGE, La.— A Louisiana appeals court panel on Sept. 18 affirmed a trial court judge's ruling finding that fraud claims in three class action suits against a surveyor who allegedly provided erroneous reports about the elevation of their homes are perempted by the five-year statute of limitations, holding that the statutory period began to run when the surveys were submitted and that the homeowners were unable to show that any errors were intentional (April Markiewicz, et al. v. Sun Construction LLC, et al., No. 2019 CA 1590, Janet Shea, et al. v. Sun Construction LLC, et al., No. 2019 1591, Patricia Grant, et al. v. Sun Construction LLC, et al., No. 2019 CA 1592, La. App., 1st Cir., 2020 La. App. Unpub. LEXIS 164).
AUSTIN, Texas — A 2-1 Texas appeals panel on Sept. 17 vacated a verdict in a favor of a couple who claimed that the improper installation of spray foam insulation caused them to suffer personal injuries and property damage, with the majority finding that the plaintiffs failed to present sufficient causation evidence of both injuries, while the dissenting judge found the evidence adequate to show that the plaintiffs' property was damaged (Builder Services Group Inc. v. Alan Lynn Taylor, et al., No. 03-18-710, Texas App., 3rd Dist., 2020 Tex. App. LEXIS 7630).
SAN FRANCISCO — A federal magistrate judge in California on Sept. 8 granted in part and denied in part a manufacturer's motion to dismiss class action claims alleging that structural support products suffer from an inherent defect that was fraudulently concealed from California and Arizona homeowners, rejecting the manufacturer's contention that the complaint improperly alleged California Consumers Legal Remedies Act (CLRA) and unfair competition law (UCL) claims by out-of-state plaintiffs (Simon Nguyen, et al. v. Simpson Strong-Tie Company, Inc., et al., No. 19-07901, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 164718).
Six new lawsuits filed in Florida state court between Aug. 7 and Aug. 21 as well as a suit filed in Texas state court on July 15 allege that construction defects, such as the improper installation of stucco and building code violations, caused damages to plaintiffs' homes (Isaie Marc et al. v. Lennar Homes LLC, No. 2020-CA-8426, Fla. Cir., 9th Jud. Cir., Orange Co., Don Lefever, et al. v. Lennar Homes LLC, No. 2020-CA-1874, Fla. Cir., 6th Jud. Cir., Pasco Co., Lakeview Pointe at Horizon West Homeowners Association Inc. v. Pulte Home Corp., No. 2020-CA-008018, Fla. Cir., 9th Jud. Cir., Orange Co., Richard Henderson, et al. v. KB Home, et al., No. 2020-31064, Fla Cir., 7th Jud. Cir., Volusia Co., Eliezer Chanlatte, et al. v. Beazer Homes Corp., No. 20-6417, Fla. Cir., 13th Jud. Cir., Hillsborough Co., Aria on the Bay Condominium Association Inc. v. Bayshore Plaza LLC, et al., No. 2020-16998, Fla. Cir., 11th Jud. Cir., Miami-Dade Co., Anchuan Zheng v. Taylor Morrison of Texas Inc., No. 20-DC-274886, Texas Dist., 268th Jud. Dist., Fort Bend Co.).
ATLANTA — The owner of a home building company told a Georgia appeals court panel in an Aug. 4 brief that a trial court's refusal to vacate an arbitration award against the company, but not against the owner, should be affirmed because the homeowner fails to show that the arbitrator's decision was prejudicial and because the transcripts of the proceedings were not presented to the lower court (Mahktar Kamara v. Mark Anthony Homes LLC, et al., No. A20A2019, Ga. App., 2020 Ga. APP. CT. BRIEFS LEXIS 1242).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Florida judge on Aug. 24 awarded summary judgment to Habitat for Humanity of Jacksonville Inc. (Habijax), after finding that a woman's 2017 lawsuit over a crack she discovered in the foundation of her home in 2005 was barred by the state's four-year statute of limitations and not subject to a 2010 tolling agreement involving the city of Jacksonville, the builder and residents of the development (Fairway Oaks Community v. Habitat for Humanity of Jacksonville Inc., et al., No. 16-2017-CA-02706, Fla. 4th Jud. Cir., Duval Co.).