In Pennsylvania, Homeowners Need Not Show Diminution In Value When Calculating Damages for Defective Construction Claims
In Woullard v. Sanner Concrete and Supply, the Pennsylvania Superior Court recently affirmed the lower court’s damages ruling, stating that the plaintiff homeowners were not required to present evidence of diminution in value of their home, attributable to the defective work, as part of calculating damages.
Plaintiff homeowners hired several contractors to perform work on the home’s stonework, back porch, fireplaces, staircases, flooring, and windows. The homeowners filed suit for defective work against one contractor, Sanner Concrete, for defective stone veneer work, defective work on the back porch, and defective masonry work on the garage floor. The trial court ultimately concluded the work was defective and calculated the cost of repair to be $221,500, which was then awarded to the homeowners.
Sanner Concrete appealed, arguing that the trial court incorrectly calculated damages because it only based its amount on the cost of repair, and did not consider the diminution in the home’s value. The Superior Court affirmed the trial court’s decision. It held that where the cost of repair is not grossly disproportionate on its face to the market value of the real property, the injured party is not required to present evidence of the value of the real property. Further, to determine whether cost of repair is grossly disproportionate to a home’s value, the comparison must be between the specific defect and the cost of repair—not the entire value of the home. Therefore, the trial court’s determination of damages was not grossly disproportionate on its face when compared individually to the market value of the home without the corresponding defects caused by Sanner Concrete. Thus, the homeowners did not have to show evidence of any diminution in value.
Special thanks to John Lang for his contributions to this post. If you have any questions, kindly contact Thomas Bracken.