Construction Oberview: Ober|Kaler Attorneys Obtain Significant Jury Award, Including Substantial Attorney’s Fees, for Homeowner Construction Defect Claim


Ober|Kaler Construction Group principal Raymond Burke and associate Kelly Preteroti recently secured a significant jury award on behalf of the owners of a townhome in Montgomery County in a claim involving faulty construction and unfair and deceptive trade practices under the Maryland Consumer Protection Act. They represented Subhash and Rita Dhawan in a suit against the builder of their home, Churchill Group at Maxwell Square, Inc. The suit alleged construction defects discovered several years after the purchase, and was based on claims of negligence, breach of contract, and violations of the Maryland Consumer Protection Act (CPA).

In 1999, the Dhawans contracted for the construction of a new townhome in the King Farm community along the I-270 corridor in Montgomery County, which they had built to their requirements, including a finished basement level. They moved into the completed home in April 2000. In August 2006, the Dhawans noticed a musty odor from behind a cabinet in the finished basement level of their home. After removing the cabinet system they discovered that a section of wall had been severely damaged by water intrusion. Subsequent investigations revealed water damage in other areas of the basement, and further demonstrated that the moisture intrusion had resulted in extensive microbial growth and mold contamination. It was ultimately discovered that one of the exterior walls had been improperly constructed with the use of untreated wood framing below grade, and that interior grade drywall had been used as exterior sheathing. Additionally, it was learned that the patio slab outside of the basement entrance had been improperly installed below the level of the floor slab.

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