Justia Construction Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Maryland Court of Appeals
Stalker Bros. v. Alcoa Concrete Masonry, Inc.
Plaintiff, an unlicensed subcontractor, filed a complaint against Defendants, licensed contractors, alleging that it was entitled to a judgment in the amount that Defendants agreed to pay for home improvement work that Plaintiff performed as a subcontractor for Defendants. The circuit court dismissed the complaint, finding that contracts made by unlicensed home improvement contractors or subcontractors were illegal. The court of appeals reversed and reinstated the complaint, holding that the Maryland Home Improvement Law, which regulates contracts between contractors and owners, did not bar Respondent from recovering on its subcontract with Petitioner. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Maryland Home Improvement Law did not render unenforceable a contract between a home improvement general contractor and an unlicensed subcontractor. View "Stalker Bros. v. Alcoa Concrete Masonry, Inc. " on Justia Law
Renaissance v. Broida
A landowner submitted a site development plan to the county planning board, proposing to construct a mixed-use condominium building. Joel Broida, who lived across the street from the landowner's parcel of land, filed a motion to deny approval of the site development plan. The planning board approved the plan. Broida appealed. A hearing examiner dismissed the appeal, holding that Broida lacked standing. Broida appealed. The board of appeals (Board) split evenly on the issue of Broida's standing and decided to re-vote at a later date. The landowner then filed a complaint for a declaratory judgment, declaring that the Board's split decision was final and required the appeal to be dismissed. The circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of the landowner. The court of special appeals reversed, holding that Broida had standing to appeal. The court therefore did not address whether there was a final Board decision. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding (1) there was no final administrative decision and, therefore, the landowner failed to exhaust its administrative remedies; and (2) because there was no final administrative decision, the lower courts erred in reaching the merits of the case, and the declaratory judgment action should have been dismissed. Remanded. View "Renaissance v. Broida" on Justia Law
Wietzke v. Chesapeake Conference Ass’n
Petitioners, Douglas and Vanessa Wietzke, filed a four-count complaint against the Chesapeake Conference Association of Seventh-Day Adventists (the Church), alleging nuisance, trespass, and negligence in connection with the construction of a new parking lot by the Church. The Wietzkes claimed the lot was the cause of continued flooding of their home and requested damages and injunctive relief. The circuit court granted the Church's motion for judgment on the negligence claim then entered judgment in favor of the Church on the nuisance and trespass claims. The court of special appeals affirmed. The Court of Appeals granted certiorari to answer several questions, most of which related to the trial judge's denial of several of the Wietzkes' requested jury instructions. The Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) the trial court did not err in denying Wietzke's proposed jury instructions, (2) the model jury instructions requiring a finding of unreasonable conduct in a private nuisance action were a correct exposition of the law, and (3) the trial court erred in granting the Church's motion for judgment on the Wietzkes' negligence claim as the evidence could have supported a negligence claim. View "Wietzke v. Chesapeake Conference Ass'n" on Justia Law
Hovnanian Land Inv. Group, L.L.C. v. Annapolis Towne Centre at Parole, L.L.C.
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
C&M Builders, L.L.C. v Strub
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