Monday, June 28, 2010

Two more jury verdicts in Colorado construction defect lawsuits

While reading through some recent volumes of the Jury Verdict Reporter of Colorado, I came across two construction defect cases which went to trial earlier this year.  The first case, Peggy Foster and Heidi Daughan v. James Sparr was tried in Gunnison County District Court from January 25-28 in front of the Honorable Roger Ogborn.  In that case, the homeowners alleged that James Sparr acted as the general contractor for their home in Gunnison and that his negligence led to sinking of the home. Plaintiffs sought $467,000 in repair damages for stabilizing the house, releveling it, and making necessary cosmetic repairs.  Mr. Sparr stipulated that this was a reasonable cost of repair, but denied that he was the general contractor for the plaintiffs' home and that he was simply trying to help his friend, Ms. Foster, who acted as her own general contractor. 


The final demand before trial was $250,000, according to the defendant's attorney, or $100,000, according to the plaintiffs' attorney.  The final offer before trial was $0, according to the defendant's attorney, or $10,000, according to the plaintiffs' attorney. 


The experts who testified on behalf of the plaintiffs were Ali Marvi, PE, with AKM Engineering, Mr. John Wagener, with Palace Construction, and Ron McOmber, PE, with CTL/Thompson.  The defendant had no expert witnesses testify on his behalf.  After the trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendant.  According to the person involved in the case with whom I spoke, the jury did not find that the plaintiffs had proven that the defendant acted as the general contractor.


The other case recently reported in the Jury Verdict Reporter of Colorado was Kristopher P. Lecciso and Antonia Gaona v. 2247 Lowell Boulevard, LLC and Nicholas Mystrom d/b/a Alco Construction, which was tried from January 11-21 before the Honorable John W. Madden, IV in Denver County District Court.  In that case, the plaintiffs alleged that they bought a 120-year-old home from 2247 Lowell Boulevard, LLC in the Highlands neighborhood next to a vacant lot.  Nicholas Mystrom then constructed a duplex on the adjoining lot and attached it to the plaintiffs' home, creating a tri-plex.  The plaintiffs alleged that as a result of Mystrom's negligence in designing and constructing a retaining wall, the retaining wall failed, causing major foundation problems.  They also claimed that the defendants made misrepresentations to induce them into purchasing the house, which they also claimed to have various construction defects.  The plaintiffs never moved into the home and sought damages including the cost of repairing the home ($192,817.18, including engineering fees) and for mortgage payments they made on the home ($67,763).


The final demand before trial was that the defendants buy the house for $299,500 (the purchase price in 2007) and payment of $104,000 for attorneys' fees and costs.  The final offer before trial was that the defendants would purchase the home for $287,000 and pay $54,000 for attorneys' fees and costs. 


The experts who testified for the plaintiffs included Ed Fronapfel, PE, with SBSA, and Mr. Kevin McCallister (regarding the cost of repair).  Based on the jury's verdicts, the court entered judgment in favor of the plaintiffs and against the defendants, jointly, for $282,188.71, including $31,250 in non-economic damages, and in favor of plaintiffs and against 2247 Lowell Boulevard, LLC in the additional amount of $9,641.47, netting a total judgment of $291,830.18.      


To learn more about construction defect litigation in Colorado, please contact me for a copy of our Overview of Construction Defect Litigation in Colorado. I can be reached at by telephone at (303) 987-9813 or by e-mail at mclain@hhmrlaw.com.

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The information contained in this blog is provided for informational purposes only. It is not legal advice and should not be construed as providing legal advice on any subject matter.