Remember that case I discussed a while back relating to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) building in Annapolis, Maryland? Remember how it was a lawsuit over parallams and failure of those parallams? Do you even remember what a parallam is?
Well, that case was initially dismissed upon the Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment because the trial court determined that CBF did not file its lawsuit within the proper time frame after notice of the potential failure of the building materials. Of course, CBF appealed to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals under the caption The Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Inc., et. al. v. Weyerhaeuser Company (4th Circuit).
After a great review of the facts of the case, the engineering inspections and reports at issue and the trial court’s ruling, the Fourth Circuit vacated the dismissal and remanded the case for further proceedings. The Court of Appeals reasoned that the district court jumped the gun in dismissing the lawsuit so early in the process because:
a genuine dispute exists as to whether knowledge of the water infiltration problem would have put a reasonable person on notice that the Parallams were susceptible to premature deterioration and that their PolyClear 2000 treatment would not preserve them.
In short, the court ruled that the engineering reports relating to moisture issues would have put CBF on notice of the particular issue of deterioration that was at issue in the litigation.
The good news for all of us looking to see how a lawsuit relating to “green” materials turns out is that this case may actually get a ruling (assuming no settlement). As a construction attorney that has discussed some of the risks of green building here at Construction Law Musings, I am curious to find out how this case resolves.
I’ll keep you posted as I hear more on this or other sustainable building issues.
UPDATE: The case has come to an end and been settled.
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