A common interest community located in Bergen County, New Jersey has accepted a total settlement of $1.2 million for various transition-related construction defects. Thomas J. Pryor of Stark & Stark and the firm’s Community Associations and Construction Litigation groups obtained the settlement on behalf of the third-party plaintiff condominium association, which experienced roof leaks, window problems and other construction defect related issues, shortly after the unit owners were elected to the Board of Directors of the Association.
The case began as a negligence and mold exposure personal injury action against the Association and the Developer, rather than a construction defect action, by a unit owner in the building who experienced water intrusion into her unit. The unit owner sued the Association and the Developer for failing to repair the roof in a timely fashion both before and after transition of control of the Association, which caused additional damage and permitted mold to grow in the unit. The Association’s attorneys successfully defended the owner’s personal injury claims, by obtaining medical records showing that the alleged mold related skin and respiratory issues had begun before she moved into the unit. Further, the Association obtained expert reports from physicians who concluded that the skin and respiratory issues allegedly experienced by the plaintiff were a result of conditions other than mold exposure. Ultimately, the Association, Developer and their respective insurance carriers settled the owner’s property damage and construction defect claims for a nominal amount, including a contribution by the Association of $13,500.
With regard to the construction defects, the Association was able to show through expert reports and deposition testimony, that the problems existed before transition of control took place, and that it was the responsibility of others to construct the roof properly. The Association joined the roofer, window installer, parking garage manufacturer, facade repair contractor, air conditioning unit contractor and others as defendants for failures related not only to the roof, but other transition related construction defects to the windows, facade and parking garage. The Association will be able to pay for a new roof and significant repairs to the building and the parking garage as a result of this settlement.
The names of the parties, Defendants’ counsel as well as the identity of the Association are being withheld in accordance with confidential settlement agreements. Much of the settlement was obtained through the mediation efforts of Judge John E. Keefe, J.A.D. (ret.) of Keefe, Bartels & Clark LLC.