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Attorneys Prevail on Appeal in Construction Defect Case

September 4, 2018

David M. Burkholder

Benjamin A. Andersen

On September 4, 2018, Wisler Pearlstine attorneys David M. Burkholder and Benjamin A. Andersen successfully defended their client’s $273,000 judgment in the Pennsylvania Superior Court in a residential construction defect case. Burkholder and Andersen won the judgment after a 5-day jury trial in 2017 in Montgomery County, which included the trial court’s decision to award over 90% of the attorneys’ fees expended on the case, pursuant to the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law. At trial, the jury found that the Defendants, the sellers of a newly-built home in Montgomery County, breached the written warranty they gave the Plaintiff by failing to remedy significant basement water infiltration, floor deflection, and repeated cracking in the walls throughout the residence, among other failures.

On appeal, the Superior Court unanimously affirmed the jury’s verdict and the trial court’s decision in full. The appellate victory was particularly notable because it confirmed the ability of a successful plaintiff to recover the vast majority of his attorneys’ fees expended in a case under the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law, even where the plaintiff also pursues other legal theories of recovery arising out of the same set of facts (such as breach of contract, as was the case here).

Attorneys Burkholder and Andersen have extensive experience in many facets of construction litigation, which is valuable not only to homeowners but also to homebuilders and residential developers, as their expertise and this case, in particular, can provide a road map for homebuilders to comply with the law and avoid costly mistakes when faced with complaints from a homeowner about defects in a new residence.