Justia Construction Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Maryland Court of Appeals
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Respondent Annapolis Towne Centre (ATC), the owner and developer of a mixed-use development, entered into an agreement with petitioner Hovnanian Land Investment, a residential developer, under which ATC agreed to sell a portion of the property to Hovnanian for the construction of a residential tower. The contract required certain conditions to be met by ATC prior to the closing and contained a clause stating that any waiver of the contract had to be in writing. Before closing, Hovnanian terminated the agreement, alleging that ATC failed to meet a condition precedent. ATC sought a declaratory judgment, and both parties filed motions for summary judgment on the issue of whether ATC had complied with the condition precedent. The circuit court granted ATC's motion for summary judgment on that issue, holding that Hovnanian waived the condition precedent. The court of special appeals affirmed. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that summary judgment was not appropriate because (1) a condition precedent may be waived by a party's conduct, despite a non-waiver clause, but whether Hovnanian's actions amounted to a waiver was a dispute of material fact; and (2) the question of whether ATC strictly fulfilled the condition also involved material questions of fact. Remanded. View "Hovnanian Land Inv. Group, L.L.C. v. Annapolis Towne Centre at Parole, L.L.C." on Justia Law

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Wayne Nocar, who was doing construction work on a house, died after falling through a stairwell opening in a floor that C&M Builders had built. Kelly Strub sued C&M on behalf of her son, alleging negligence in the death of Nocar. The trial court determined the C&M was not negligent. On appeal, the intermediate appellate court held (1) C&M owed a duty to Nocar to comply with the Maryland Occupational Safety and Health Act (MOSHA), and (2) C&M's motion for judgment asserting the evidence showed that Nocar assumed the risk of his fatal injury as a matter of law was properly denied by the lower court. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding (1) an employer does not owe a duty under MOSHA to provide a safe workplace to a person who is not his employee after the employer has left the worksite and has no control over worksite conditions, and (2) where it is clear that any person in Nocar's position must have understood the danger of falling, the issue of assumption of the risk may be decided by the court rather than the jury. Thus the issue should have been decided in C&M's favor by the lower court on C&M's motion. View "C&M Builders, L.L.C. v Strub" on Justia Law