Tyler E. Chapman, a partner with Todd & Weld LLP, was interviewed for an article published in Banker & Tradesman on December 24, 2012, entitled "Damage Done-Court Removes 'Magic Bullet' in Condo Board Cases-Ruling Allows Boards to Recover Damage from Construction Flaws." The paper sought comment from Mr. Chapman, who is co-chair of the Real Estate Bar Association's litigation committee, with regard to the opinion recently handed down by the Massachusetts Appeals Court regarding the right of condominium boards to sue developers for damage to the condominium property.
The Appeals Court decision dealt with the "warranty of habitability" concept available to a consumer for a builder's negligence as opposed to the "economic loss doctrine" which previously limited claims brought by condominium boards against developers. The Appeals Court held that "a condominium unit owners' association may recover damages . . . for negligent design or construction of common area property in circumstances in which damages are reasonably determinable, in which the association would otherwise lack a remedy."
Mr. Chapman, whose clients have included several condominium associations and condominium boards of trustees, commented: "I think it's a significant development. The Appeals Court has really changed what the law is." He further stated: "I've been involved in a number of construction cases, and the economic loss doctrine had almost been like a magic bullet for contractors and developers, limiting liability claims and enabling third parties like architects and sub-contractors to get cases dismissed. . . . The Appeals Court has now said, 'We're going to change that rule.'"