October 7, 2011
Strong & Hanni attorneys Robert Janicki and Adam Wentz obtained summary judgment on behalf of their client against a plaintiff homeowner who was seeking recovery for damages allegedly resulting from certain construction defects.
Plaintiffs’ claims focused on alleged water damage to a home built by Strong & Hanni’s client. The subject home was originally sold by the client to co-defendants, who in turn sold the home to the plaintiffs. Importantly, however, was the fact that Strong & Hanni’s client never had any direct dealings with the plaintiffs. Rather, the original sale of the home and all subsequent repairs were negotiated with the original owners. It was not until after the plaintiffs had entered into a Real Estate Purchase Contract with the co-defendants that water damage was discovered.
Strong & Hanni was awarded summary judgment on the basis that plaintiff failed to demonstrate a duty owed to them by Strong & Hanni’s client. Rather, the client’s dealings with regard to the home had been with the co-defendants and not the plaintiffs. Furthermore, Strong & Hanni successfully argued that plaintiffs were not privy to the contract between the client and the original homeowners, nor was plaintiff the third-party beneficiary to any repairs made by Strong & Hanni’s client for and on behalf of the original homeowners. As a result, Strong & Hanni convinced the Court that there was no duty, and—without a duty—there can be no negligence as a matter of law.