State Supreme Court issues ‘victory for construction subcontractors’

For those in the construction industry wondering if the exponential growth in construction defect claims will continue unabated, there continues to be hopeful signs here and there that courts are looking at relevant statutes with new eyes.

We read recently of such an example in a report about the Illinois Supreme Court overturning decades of precedent in holding that buyers of new homes cannot pursue breach of implied warranty claims against subcontractors when there’s no contractual relationship between them.

A recent article on the decision described it as “a victory for construction subcontractors.” The court held that homeowners’ claims for breach of implied warranty of habitability are limited to those parties with whom they have direct contractual relationships (the general contractor in most situations). The court’s decision means that a subcontractor who was hired by the general contractor has no implied warranty to the home buyer.

In the Illinois case, there were claims of water leaks and other construction defects in a newly constructed condominium complex outside of Chicago. The condo association sued, claiming the defects made the complex uninhabitable. They argued that a contractual warranty existed between the condo owners and not only the developer, but also the general contractor and engineers, architects, materials suppliers and various other subcontractors as well.

Though the trial court denied a motion to dismiss filed by the subcontractors and suppliers, the state Supreme Court overruled the trial court on appeal and ordered the lower court to dismiss the claims against the subcontractors.

If you are a general contractor, subcontractor, or supplier facing a construction defect claims in the Mid-Atlantic area, contact MacDonald Law Group for assistance.

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