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Arizona Court of Appeals Rules Issues Were Not Covered in Construction Defect Suit

December 9, 2011 — CDJ Staff

The Arizona Court of Appeals has ruled in the case of Peters v. Marque Homes. In this case, Walter Peters provided the land and funding for Marque Homes to build a luxury residence in Glendale, Arizona. By the terms of the “Joint Venture Agreement,” Peters provided the land and funding, while Marque would not charge Peters for overhead, profits, or supervision fees. The agreement specified that profits would be divided equally.

Two years later, Marque sued Peters claiming he had breached his obligations by refusing several offers for the home. Peters replied that Marque had “failed to complete the home so it is habitable to prospective purchasers.” Peters stated he had “retained an expert inspector who had identified numerous defects.” The court appointed a Special Commissioner to list the home for sale. Peters purchased the home with two stipulations ordered by the court. At this point, the earlier case was dismissed with prejudice.

Peters then sued Marque “asserting express and implied warranty claims arising out of alleged construction defects in the home.” Marque claimed that Peters’s claims were “precluded by the prior joint venture dispute.” The court granted Marque’s motion.

The appeals court reversed the lower court’s decision, determining that Peters’s claims were not precluded by the agreement. Although there had been a prior case between the two parties, warranty issues did not form a part of that case. “Peters never raised these allegations nor presented this evidence in support of any warranty claim.”

The court also noted that the “parties never agreed to preclude future warranty claims.” Marque and Peters “agreed in the stipulated sale order that ‘the sale of the property to a third party shall be “as is” with a 10-year structural warranty.’” The court noted that the agreement said nothing about one of the parties buying the house.

The appeals court left open a claim by Marque that there are no implied or express warranties available to Peters. They asked the Superior Court to address this.

Read the court’s decision…

Arizona Court of Appeals Rules Issues Were Not Covered in Construction Defect Suit