In this 2 part blog post I wanted to touch on some basics of the typical “multifamily” construction defect case. Whether the project is a condominium, apartment, assisted living facility or hotel they share many of the same issues. There are six primary considerations in bringing these claims but each of those has many subparts which depend on specific facts of the project.
The first consideration is who is the true owner and is that entity able to recover for the defective construction. Is there a condominium association or building owner? Maybe it is the hotel or facility operator that is the aggrieved party or is the developer of the building? Knowing who has the rights to make the defect claims is a critical first step.
The second consideration is to determine against whom any claims may be asserted. Is there a claim against the developer of real property who designed, built and sold the units or buildings in questions? Or maybe there are claims against the general contractor and subcontractors who coordinated and performed the work? What about the design professionals who designed the building improvements? The reality is that all of these entities could be responsible for defects in the improvements. How much each of them is responsible for is dependent upon the warranties, contracts and legal theories at play where the property is located as well as any contracts that may exist between the parties.
The third consideration is what types of claims available depend greatly on the jurisdiction you are in. There may be contractual express warranties which would arise out of the contracts negotiated between parties. There are implied warranties pursuant to the common law that may be at play. In some jurisdictions and depending on the type of property, Florida condominiums for example, statutory implied warranties may exist that protect the owner. Most states still allow claims for negligence in the construction or design of the structures. An important note is that not every claim can be made against every party. Careful consideration is needed as to what parties should be asserted against whom.
Part 2 next week.