AZ Homeowners Get $13.6 Million in Real Estate Lawsuit
In what is being billed as the largest real estate lawsuit award in Arizona's history, an arbitration panel gave 460 home owners $13.6 million in a construction defect lawsuit.
The defendant is Del Webb Communities Inc., whose parent is the Pulte Group. The plaintiffs are home owners in the retirement community in Surprise, AZ. It was (and is) a big case, with about 1,100 homeowners out of the 10,000 homes in Surprise listed as plaintiffs when the case began in 2008.
The $13.6 million arbitration award is just one half of the dispute. After a few of the plaintiffs dropped out in the interim, the remaining 413 home owners are not a part of the arbitration settlement for legal reasons. They have a case pending in a court in Maricopa which is likely to be taken up by the end of the year.
There's added interest in the case because the home owners are all seniors. Justice delayed may prove to be too late for many of them. The whole dispute centers around the fact that after retirees moved into the upscale community, the whole place started cracking up, literally. The floors, ceilings and walls in the new homes started getting cracks.
The $13.6 million settlement provides the home owners with amounts commensurate to the damages plus their $5.7 million in legal fees. The $7.9 million in damages awarded means that homeowners were able to get what they needed for repairs, from a few thousand up to $100,000.
Of course, it's not anywhere close to the $50 million the plaintiffs asked for, and neither is it as low as the $2 million the defendants suggested would be enough to repair the homes. The Pulte Group feels they've been taken to the cleaners over this, and plan to appeal in State Court. This makes what happens in the other pending lawsuit even more important. If that turns out to be even worse for Pulte, then they might regret appealing on this one.
Did you know?