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ARTICLE ID 185454

$________ GROSS , FOR SUBCONTRACTOR Construction Negligence – Defective workmanship – Water intrusion in penthouse – Personal injuries due to mold.

Hillsborough County, FL

This action was brought against the defendant general contractor for alleged negligence in construction of the plaintiff’s Pinellas County penthouse. The plaintiff claimed improper construction allowed water intrusion and mold in the unit which made him sick. The defendant general contractor named a construction subcontractor as a third party defendant, contending that the subcontractor was responsible for the water intrusion in the unit. The architect and developer of the project were listed as Fabre defendants on the verdict form.

The plaintiff purchased a $1 million penthouse constructed by the defendant general contractor in Pinellas County. The plaintiff alleged there were multiple construction defects, as well as water intrusion into the interior which caused mold-related personal injuries including upper and lower airway impairment, allergic irritation and inflammation, sinusitis, rhinosinusitis and asthma. Plaintiff’s counsel requested $2.1 million in damages.

The general contractor acknowledged the existence of water leaks in the plaintiff’s unit. However, the general contractor maintained that any construction defects were caused by the work performed by the third party defendant subcontractor. The third party defendant subcontractor built the penthouse balconies. The plaintiff claimed the subcontractor failed to slope the balconies properly, resulting in water pooling against the exterior walls and at the base of the sliding glass doors. It was alleged that these pools contributed to water intruding into the unit at these locations due to defects in the building envelope. The third party defendant subcontractor argued that neither the plaintiff nor the defendant general contractor could prove the alleged damages resulted from the subcontractor’s scope of work.

On damages, the third party defendant subcontractor argued that it was not responsible for the penthouse’s indoor air quality. The plaintiff’s air quality expert testified the main cause of the poor air quality was the lack of containment protocols used during the interior water damage remediation process. The subcontractor argued that it had no role in that remediation. In addition, the defense contended that the plaintiff presented insufficient data to support his personal injury claims and could not prove his respiratory issues were exacerbated by mold within his penthouse as opposed to mold he encountered outdoors. In fact, the defense contended that most of the mold levels in the plaintiff’s unit were lower than outdoor levels. The plaintiff admitted to having preexisting asthma.The jury found the defendant general contractor 50% liable, the Fabre defendant architect 25% liable, the Fabre defendant developer 25% liable, and the third party defendant subcontractor not liable. The jury awarded the plaintiff a total of $________ in damages. The third party defendant subcontractor has moved for attorney fees and costs against the defendant general contractor.

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