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Partial Summary Judgment Granted in Construction Defect Claim Due to Lack of Standing

Christopher M. Utrera | August 1, 2018

Christopher M. Utrera, of the Miami office, obtained Partial Summary Judgment in favor of a developer client. Plaintiff, a condominium association, brought suit against multiple parties for a myriad of construction defects at the subject property. The property is a mixed-use development consisting of a marina, commercial space, plus a hotel and condominium units within a single high-rise structure. The Plaintiff raised defect claims for most areas of the property, including, but not limited to, the structural components, roof, mechanical and electrical systems, stucco, glazing, parking areas, and interior finishes. Though no official damage estimates were provided, the type of claimed damages are typically in excess of several millions of dollars.

Summary judgment was filed based upon the Plaintiff’s lack of standing to pursue certain alleged claims, as the governing covenants and condominium declarations state that the hotel (not the condominium association) is responsible for the maintenance and repair of what is called the ‘Shared Facilities.’ The Shared Facilities are, in essence, defined as those areas typically part of a condominium’s common elements, such as the structural components, roof, mechanical and electrical systems, stucco, glazing, parking areas, etc. Because the governing documents described the Shared Facilities as being solely the property of the hotel, and subject to the hotel’s discretion for maintenance and repair, Chris argued the Plaintiff association lacked standing and was not the real party in interest to pursue the subject causes of action. The Plaintiff association responded by arguing that its unit owners still had a common interest in ensuring the alleged defects were remediated. Furthermore, the association claimed it was responsible for reimbursing the hotel for half of the repair costs associated with the defects, thereby allowing them to pursue the lawsuit against the defendants. Extensive motions and responses were filed, and following a lengthy hearing on the summary judgment motion, the Court ultimately sided with Chris’ argument that the condominium association did not have the requisite standing to pursue claims related to the Shared Facilities. Just recently, the Court upheld its own ruling following two separate motions for rehearing filed by the Plaintiff.

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