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Vlahos v. R&I Construction of Bloomington

April 09, 2003

DEAN P. VLAHOS, ET AL., APPELLANTS,
v.
R&I CONSTRUCTION OF BLOOMINGTON, INC., F/K/A ROBERT WAADE & ASSOCIATES, INC., ET AL., RESPONDENTS, JOHN DOE, ET AL., DEFENDANTS, AND R&I CONSTRUCTION OF BLOOMINGTON, INC., F/K/A ROBERT WAADE & ASSOCIATES, INC., ET AL., THIRD PARTY PLAINTIFFS, RESPONDENTS,
v.
QUALITY INSULATION, INC., THIRD PARTY DEFENDANT, RESPONDENT, INTEX INSULATING CO., INC., THIRD PARTY DEFENDANT, KLEVE HEATING & AIR CONDITIONING, INC., THIRD PARTY DEFENDANT, RESPONDENT, TAPPE CONSTRUCTION CO., THIRD PARTY DEFENDANT, RESPONDENT, DONNELLY BROTHERS CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, INC., THIRD PARTY DEFENDANT, RESPONDENT, COLLINS ELECTRICAL CONSTRUCTION CO., THIRD PARTY DEFENDANT, RESPONDENT, WEATHER SHIELD MFG., INC., THIRD PARTY DEFENDANT.



Hennepin County District Court File No. CT016854

Considered and decided by Schumacher, Presiding Judge, Willis, Judge, and Anderson, Judge.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

1. The grant of summary judgment is proper when there exists no genuine issue of material fact, and the district court properly applied the law.

2. The statute of limitations under Minn. Stat. § 541.051, subd. 1(a), begins to run when the owners of realty have notice of injury to their property, and the sale of the realty does not revive for subsequent purchasers an already time-barred claim.

3. Injury to real property occurring after completion of construction, as opposed to defects inherent in the construction itself, does not constitute a"major construction defect" under Minn. Stat. §§ 327A.01 and.02 (2002).

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Robert H. Schumacher, Judge

Affirmed

OPINION

Appellants Dean and Michelle Vlahos argue that the district court erred by granting respondents' motions for summary judgment, dismissing the Vlahos's lawsuit as barred by the applicable statute of limitations and as not alleging"major construction defects" as defined by statute. We affirm.

FACTS

On or about June 1, 1990, respondent R&I Construction of Bloomington, Inc., f/k/a Robert Waade & Associates, Inc. entered into a contract with Roger and Carol Rovick to construct a home at 3680 Northhome Road in Deephaven on Lake Minnetonka. Appellants Dean P. Vlahos and Michelle R. Vlahos purchased the home from the Rovicks. The Rovicks and R&I elected not to employ an architect or engineer for construction of the home. About August 28, 1991, the home was substantially completed, a certificate of occupancy was issued, and the Rovicks moved in.

The Rovicks had water problems in the home during their occupancy. Their deposition testimony showed that they caulked and re-caulked the home every spring, there were numerous occasions when water seeped into the home in the lower level, they noticed water dripping from the ceiling and replaced an eight foot by ten foot section of the ceiling because of the water damage, experienced warping of a parquet floor that they then replaced with a marble floor, and replaced a water-damaged beam. Additionally, Roger Rovick testified that"after many years" respondent Kleve Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. fixed a condensation problem with the windows in the swimming pool area with a dehumidifying system. The home had an indoor hot-tub.

Appellants purchased the home from the Rovicks for $5.175 million and moved in on March 13, 2000. Appellants undertook an extensive remodeling project beginning in April 2000. It was during the remodeling that they discovered the previous water damage to the home. Appellants claim that they were not aware of the extensive damage prior to the remodeling. Respondents point out that the Rovicks' property disclosure statement disclosed"roof, wall or ceiling damage caused by water," and appellants' inspection report identified areas of water seepage, leakage, corrosion, and mold.

The Rovicks maintain that the problems of which they were aware regarding water penetration were isolated, not significant, and had been fixed prior to the sale to appellants. Appellants claim that much of the water damage was discovered behind the walls and involved"decay of interior floor trusses, ...


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