A Home Run

Suit Against Builder Fails, Is Appealed, Fails Again

A home builder sued homeowners, claiming $30,631 in unpaid bills connected with the construction of the home. The homeowners filed a counterclaim, alleging that an exterior brick veneer wall was improperly constructed and contending that the improper construction had caused cracking of the brick veneer. We represented the builder in the defense of this counterclaim.

At trial, the homeowners were permitted to introduce testimony of a civil engineer and a masonry contractor over our objection. Through cross-examination, we challenged the engineer’s opinion that the cracked bricks were the result of the manner in which the veneer wall was constructed. We further challenged the masonry contractor’s testimony that it was necessary to remove and replace the entire brick veneer wall at a cost of $82,268.

Although the judge found that the builder had failed to install flashing and weep holes in the veneer wall, he specifically found that the homeowners had failed to prove that the cracks in the bricks were caused by improper installation of the veneer wall and was unpersuaded that full replacement of the veneer wall was required. At the conclusion of the three-day trial, the court awarded the builder $29,181, but awarded the homeowners only nominal damages of $100. The homeowners appealed, but the Massachusetts Appellate Division, District Court, determined that the evidence supported the judge’s findings and dismissed the appeal.

Other Cases / Wins: Construction Litigation