Arizona justices: Homeowners can sue builders over workmanship

Chris Rizo Aug. 19, 2008, 2:50pm

Andrew Hurwitz

PHOENIX, Ariz. (Legal Newsline)-Homeowners don't have to buy directly from builders to sue those businesses for shoddy work, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

The high court ruled unanimously that the lack of a direct transaction does not prevent liability for breach of the implied warranty of workmanship and habitability.

The lawsuit was dismissed by a Maricopa County court that ruled homeowners could not sue the builder because they had bought their house from a developer rather than directly from the builder.

The Supreme Court reversed their decision, ruling that buyers of defectively constructed homes shouldn't be denied legal recourse "simply because of the form of the business deal chosen by the builder and vendor."

The lawsuit was brought originally by The Lofts at Fillmore Condominium Association, which sought damages from builder Reliance Commercial Construction, Inc.

"Reliance may not rely upon an agreement it has with the developer respecting allocation of eventual responsibility for defective construction to escape its obligations to the association on the implied warranty," Justice Andrew Hurwitz wrote for the court.

The case is The Lofts at Fillmore vs. Reliance Commercial Construction, CV-08-0416-OR.

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