alabama construction law
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alabama construction law

Alabama Construction Law Decisions

Ex parte Bradford (AL #1982169 - Jul 12, 2000)
(the withdrawn original opinion released on July 12, 2000, in Bradford is also available at the Wallace, Jordan, Ratliff & Brandt, L.L.C. web site)

(whether the notice to be given the Alabama Home Builders Licensure Board at the commencement of an action against a licensed home builder under Ala. Code 34-14A-15 is an essential initial requirement one must meet in order to secure a recovery from the Board's Recovery Fund)
Ex parte Bradford (AL #1982169 - Dec 15, 2000)
(on application for rehearing; withdrawing and substituting the opinion of July 12, 2000)

(whether the notice to be given the Alabama Home Builders Licensure Board at the commencement of an action against a licensed home builder under Ala. Code 34-14A-15 is an essential initial requirement one must meet in order to secure a recovery from the Board's Recovery Fund)
Stone Bldg. Co. v. Star Elec. Contractors, Inc. (AL #1990085 - Dec 15, 2000)
(indemnity; dispute between a general contractor and a subcontractor involving claims of breach of contract, misrepresentation, negligent and wanton failure to procure insurance, and negligent and wanton failure to settle; whether a nonmovant must file an opposition to a motion for summary judgment when it has already filed a response to a previous, similar, unsuccessful motion for summary judgment; whether the subcontractor breached a duty to obtain insurance covering the general contractor; whether there was any substantial evidence that any negligence by the defendant subcontractor caused injuries to the employee of another subcontractor where an expert on electrical and construction safety, testified that the defendant subcontractor performed all of the electrical demolition on the fifth floor, including that which ran through the poke-throughs in the ceiling of the fourth floor," and that the condition of the exposed "hot" wire, running from a panel on the fifth floor down through a poke-through in the fourth floor, was a violation of industry standards as codified in the National Electrical Code; whether the eventual jury verdict, and the judgment thereon, against the injured worker on his claims against the defendant subcontractor defeated the general contractor's right to indemnification for the settlement money the general contractor had paid the injured worker for a release from liability for the torts of the defendant subcontractor or others in injuring the worker; whether the general contractor afforded the defendant subcontractor an opportunity to participate in the settlement negotiations with the injured worker; whether the general contractor was too tardy in notifying the defendant subcontractor of the worker's suit and of the general contractor's demand for indemnification under the contract)
McGinnis v. Jim Walter Homes, Inc. (AL #1000209 - Mar 23, 2001)
(negligence; wrongful death; negligent or wanton construction, inspection, or repair; summary judgment; holding that defendant Alabama Power Co., as a supplierwho merely furnishes electricity, is not responsible for alleged defects in the system to which electricity is supplied when the supplier has no control over the premises, and the supplier iswithout actual knowledge of any defective or dangerous condition; holding that the McGinnises failed to produce substantial evidence indicating that Alabama Power's act of connecting power to the McGinnis home in 1991 was a proximate cause of the fire and resulting death of their daughter in 1996; holding that the Court cannot consider whether defendant Jim Walter Homes could be liable for the plaintiffs' daughter's death under Ala. Code 6-5-220 to 6-5- 228, because this argument was not presented to the trial court; holding that Jim Walter Homes, as a general contractor, is not liable for the alleged negligence of an independent contractor; holding that the plaintiffs failed to present evidence indicating the existence of a master-servant relationship between defendant Jim Walter and defendant subcontractor Holsombeck Electric Co.; where the evidence that was before the trial court indicated that the plaintiffs' experts inspected the plaintiffs' home and formulated theopinion that the fire was caused by improper installation of electrical wiring, that the plaintiffs had experienced persistent electrical problems with their home, that the plaintiffs had reported these persistent electrical problems to Jim Walter Homes, and that on two occasions Jim Walter Homes sent representatives (including the "head electrician for Jim Walter") to check out the electrical problems, the Court concluded that there exists a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Jim Walter Homes' performance of the action undertaken was uncompleted when it failed to discover a reason for the persistent electrical problems in the plaintiffs' home and to repair the defect, especially in light of the experts' opinion as to the state of the electrical system in the plaintiffs' home because the trier of fact could find that Jim Walter Homes' failure to discover the reason for the persistent electrical problems and its failure to repair the defect proximately caused the fire that resulted in the plaintiffs' daughter's death, or it could find that Jim Walter Homes' failure to discover the reason for the persistent electrical problems did not proximately cause the fire; finding a genuine issue of material fact as to the cause of the fire because, based on the evidence presented, the trier of fact could find that the fire started in the attic of the plaintiffs' home and that it was caused by defective installation of wiring, or the trier of fact could find that the fire started in the middle bedroom and that it was caused by young children's playing with matches; holding that there is no indication in the record that the plaintiffs failure to preserve evidence as would prevent Holsombeck from defending this action, but that Holsombeck may raise the spoliation issue at the trial of this case)
Arthur Rutenberg Homes, Inc. v. Norris, (AL #1990994 - Mar 30, 2001)
(claims of breach of contract, negligence, and fraud, all relating to the construction of a house for the plaintiffs; holding that the plaintiffs' fraud claim must be taken as a claim of promissory fraud; holding that the plain and unambiguous language of the building agreement the plaintiffs signed states that defendant Arthur Rutenberg Homes (ARH) cannot be held liable for the construction of a home built by First American and that, because the language of the building agreement clearly absolves ARH of any liability involving the building of the plaintiffs' house, the plaintiffs could not have justifiably relied on any representations they say ARH made with respect to the construction of their house; holding, therefore, that the trial court erred by denying ARH's motion for judgment as a matter of law on the plaintiffs' fraud claim)
Ex parte D.M. White Constr. Co. (AL #1000199 - Jun 15, 2001)
(venue; petition for a writ of mandamus directing the circuit court to enforce an "outbound" forum-selection clause; claims of fraud, negligence, breach of contract, failure to timely pay a subcontractor, and payment for work and labor performed; holding that an outbound forum-selection clause is enforceable unless the challenging party can establish that enforcement of the clause would be unfair on the basis that the contract was affected by fraud, undue influence, or overweening bargaining power or enforcement would be unreasonable on the basis that the selected forum would be seriously inconvenient; finding that the averments in the affidavit submitted in opposition to the motion to dismiss do not establish that enforcement of the outbound forum-selection clause would be unfair on the basis that the contract was affected by fraud, undue influence, or overweening bargaining power, or would be unreasonable on the basis that the selected forum would be seriously inconvenient; granting the writ of mandamus and directing the trial court to dismiss this cause without prejudice, pursuant to Rule 12(b)(3), Ala.R.Civ.P.)
Rector v. Better Houses, Inc. (AL #1991438 - Jun 22, 2001)
(claim by plaintiff alleging that the defendant had negligently constructed her house above a storm drain; holding that where the plaintiff filed her amended complaint on December 13, 1999, more than 7 months after she had filed her original complaint and within 30 days of the original January 2000 trial date, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in striking the amended complaint; holding that where there is no trial, Rule 15(b) of the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure cannot apply, and an affirmative defense the defendant has waived cannot be revived by the fact that it is raised and litigated in a summary-judgment proceeding without objection by the plaintiff; holding that the trial court erred to the extent that it entered summary judgment in favor of the defendant's unpleaded rule-of-repose defense because it had been waived by not being asserted in the defendant's answer; holding that the trial court erred in entering summary judgment in favor of the defendant on the alternative ground that the plaintiff had failed to present substantial evidence in support of her negligence claim because the defendant did not direct any argument to a relevant failure of evidence and did not set forth any pertinent facts in its motion, and, therefore, the burden never shifted to the plaintiff to present evidence supporting the merits of her claim; reversing the summary judgment in favor of the defendant)