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The legal basics of a construction defect claim: part II

In our last blog post, we began discussing some of the legal claims that may be asserted and must be proved in cases involving allegations of construction defects. We also discussed the numerous players that may be involved or implicated in these types of cases. As previously noted, legal claims that are commonly alleged in construction defect cases include negligence, breach of contract, strict liability and fraud.

In our last blog post, we discussed the critical role that contracts play in the residential and commercial real estate industry. From a legal standpoint, in a construction defect case; a close review of the contractual terms between buyers, developers, builders, contractors and suppliers will help determine which parties may be held responsible. If proven, a breach of contractual obligations and provisions can result in one or more parties shouldering the financial responsibilities related to the legal dispute as well as any court-ordered remedies.

In cases where construction defects have been identified and verified, strict liability claims put the onus for any financial responsibilities directly on the shoulders of the developer and/or general contractor. Under this legal claim, a plaintiff need only prove that a defect exists and that the developer or general contractor was involved in the project and thereby effectively "caused or created the defect."

In these types of cases, assertions of fraud relate to claims made by the developer when advertising the construction project or statements he or she directly made. In addition to sanctioning or making what a plaintiff believes to be false or misrepresentative statements, it must also be proven that a developer "had no intention of following the design plans and specifications as promised."

For a commercial or residential real estate developer, it can be challenging to defend against allegations of construction defects. It's wise, therefore, to turn to an attorney who handles these types of complex legal matters and who can defend against claims of negligence and wrongdoing.

Source: FindLaw.com, "Legal Liability for Construction Defects," Jan. 27, 2016

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