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Evidence doesn’t show couple knew of mold when selling home

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The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed rulings in favor of the sellers of a home which later was found to contain mold. The buyers sued, claiming the sellers knew of the mold at the time of the sale, but the judges found the evidence shows otherwise.

Gregory and Susan Weber’s home was built in Fishers by Beazer Homes. After hearing reports of water intrusion in other nearby homes also built by Beazer, the Webers had an inspection done on their home. The inspection found defects related to water control, but did not note the presence of mold. The builder had the home inspected again and that report also did not mention mold. Remediation work was done on the home and, later that year, the Webers sold the home to William and Cleo Boehringer. The Webers responded “no” in the sales disclosure to the presence of mold.

Nearly a year after moving in, the Boehringers discovered mold in the house. They sued the Webers, Beazer and other parties, claiming fraudulent misrepresentation and mutual mistake of fact against the Webers. The Webers counterclaimed for costs and reasonable attorney fees for defending the complaint based on language in the purchase agreement.

Both parties move for summary judgment, which was denied and a jury trial began in December 2012. The jury ruled in favor of the Webers on the buyers’ claims and awarded them $425,000 on their counterclaim.

“The undisputed designated evidence indicates that the House was inspected …  and that neither inspector indicated the presence of mold. Moreover, both Webers submitted affidavits indicating that neither detected any evidence of mold while living in the House. If believed, this evidence establishes a lack of actual knowledge of mold on the part of the Webers, which is required,” Judge Cale Bradford wrote in William E. Boehringer, Cleo A. Boehringer, and the Cleo A. Boehringer Trust v. Gregory J. Weber and Susan M. Weber, 29A05-1303-PL-154. “At the very least, this designated evidence generates a genuine issue of material fact on the question of actual knowledge, precluding the entry of summary judgment in favor of the Boehringers on their fraudulent misrepresentation claim.”

The judges also found this evidence supports the jury’s verdict in favor of the Webers on the fraudulent misrepresentation claim.
 

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