ILNews

Court properly preserved home habitability claim

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has found that a Clark County case can continue involving claims against a home construction company. The former homeowners allege that the company defectively built their home and that mold and water damage occurred, leading to loss of habitability.

In Arc Construction Management, LLC, and Alan Muncy v. John Zelenak and Cecilia Zelenak, No 10A01-1106-CT-247, the appellate court affirmed a Clark Superior Court’s ruling to not dismiss the case involving a newly constructed home in Floyd County.

John and Cecilia Zelenak bought the home in 2004. Four years later, they filed a complaint against ARC Construction Management that alleged the company breached the contract by not constructing the home in a structurally sound manner and building it contrary to building code. Specifically, the suit alleged the windows and doors weren’t properly installed or were defective, the lintels remain unpainted, one rafter was missing, electrical wires were left exposed, and there was water intrusion that damaged personal property inside. The Zelenaks wanted ARC to cover the losses and pay punitive damages in order to deter similar conduct in the future.

In 2010, the Zelenaks foreclosed on their home and ARC filed a motion to dismiss on grounds that they lacked standing after foreclosing on their ownership. Although the Zelenaks conceded the foreclosure barred most of their claims, they argued that they still had standing to bring a claim concerning the loss of use and enjoyment in the house during their time there due to the water intrusion. The trial court preserved that claim but granted summary judgment in ARC’s favor on the remaining issues, and the court then certified the order for interlocutory appeal.

On appeal, the three-judge panel found that ARC had adequate notice of the implied warranty breach claim because it was alleged in the amended complaint. The court found the Zelenaks have standing because they are alleging damage sustained as a result of ARC’s defective construction, and the panel determined a genuine issue exists for trial on that claim of habitability.

The court also denied a request for attorney fees from the Zelenaks, finding that ARC’s failure to include exhibits in its appendix weren’t so flagrant or significant to warrant those fees.


 

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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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