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Transition and Construction Defects Law

Let Us Handle the Transition

The attorneys at Griffin Alexander, P.C specialize in providing community associations with guidance through the transition process from developer to homeowner control. Our attorneys are recognized as industry leaders in community association law. Griffin Alexander represents over 250 associations in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Every New Jersey community association attorney at our firm has significant experience advising clients early in the transition process, to minimize the likelihood of long, drawn-out legal battles down the road. However, if litigation becomes necessary, Griffin Alexander provides all the depth and legal experience needed to successfully litigate transition disputes no matter the size of the community.

Griffin Alexander recognizes the importance, difficulty, and expense of the transition process. Construction defects, shortcomings by the developer on promised facilities, and underfunded reserves are often at the center of disputes regarding a new community association. Our attorneys are skilled in uncovering these problems during the transition process and establishing a thoughtful, measured plan to resolve them. We recognize that transition defects can undermine the value of a property. It is, therefore, critical to identify and resolve these issues at an early stage. Griffin Alexander prides itself on its history of client satisfaction and retention, based on proven results obtained over the last several decades.

Construction Defects

Whether the problem is in the design, construction, oversight, faulty materials or inadequate inspection of a property, construction defects can pose significant challenges to a new community. Our attorneys have over 75 years of combined experience in handling disputes related to construction defects such as:

  • Faulty installation of brick, vinyl, stucco, and EIFS (Exterior Insulated Finish Systems)
  • Roof leaks and ice damming
  • Windows and door leaks
  • Curtain walls and window wall leaks
  • Balcony, terrace, and deck leaks
  • Manufactured Stone Veneer installation deficiencies
  • Attic and party wall fire rating assembly problems
  • Concrete foundations issues
  • Settlement cracks due to geotechnical/soils problems
  • HVAC, plumbing, electrical, and acoustical systems issues
  • Fire suppression system issues
  • Parking decks and structures issues

Defects such as these can involve complicated factual and legal questions. Further, defective conditions can sometimes go unnoticed for lengthy periods of time. That is why it is important to have an experienced New Jersey community association attorney work with the community’s engineers, architects, and contractors to identify these problems and guide the association through the transition process. We understand how important it is to address these disputes head-on, so that defects are not permitted to fester, and to assure that our clients’ rights are fully protected.

Transition and construction defect law in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania community associations is constantly evolving and growing in complexity. Understanding construction law as it applies to community associations means understanding the ins-and-outs of the relevant statutes and case law. Our vast experience in these and other related legal matters gives us important insights into the strategies and tools that clients can use to avoid or swiftly resolve disputes. It also prepares us to ensure that every community association transition is as effective as possible.

Complex Legal Issues that Arise from Transition and Construction Defect Disputes

Transitioning control of the board from the developer to the owners can be a process that takes anywhere from a few months to possibly several years to complete. Griffin Alexander attorneys have the capability to advise associations through each step of a complex process to ensure that the transition goes along as smoothly as possible.

The following is just a small sample of the unique and thorny issues that transition counsel must be able to recognize and navigate:

Interpretation of Governing Documents

Although most transition defect lawsuits center around construction defects, it is critical to have an experienced and well-versed condominium law firm analyze the governing documents of the association.

It is imperative for an association to have the right legal team on board so they can formulate the best legal strategy to ensure the communities interests are being properly served.

Statute of Limitations and Repose

The New Jersey “Statute of Limitations” and “Statute of Repose” highlights the need to have an experienced construction attorney handle your construction defect lawsuit. Defendants have used both statutes to time bar claims if they are not filed on time.

New Jersey also has a lesser-known time-based restriction on transition defects. The second restriction is known as the “Statute of Repose”. The Statute of Repose restricts the date a lawsuit can be filed to ten years from the date of “substantial completion” of work or a discrete project by a trade. The Statute of Repose can preclude a claim even if transition had not taken place and even if the association did not know of the defect. Given that a construction project will be completed at differing times, the Statute of Repose serves as a pitfall for an unwary attorney that is not an experienced construction litigator.

Insurance Coverage

Construction defect attorneys must also be experts in analyzing insurance policies. Developers, design professionals, general contractors, and subcontractors all have different types of policies with different exclusions. Insurance policies are complex and it is important to have the right lawyers that can navigate the provisions of each policy to maximize an Association’s recovery.

Consumer Fraud Act

From time to time, a developer will make grandiose promises and claims about the quality of his construction projects. At other times, developers, in an effort to maximize profit, pursue what is known as “value engineering” and fail to follow the recommendations of their own consultants. When that happens, the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act is one of the most powerful legal tools in the nation to hold developers accountable. If successful, a financial recovery can include an award of punitive damages equal to three times the cost of the actual loss (treble damages) plus attorneys’ fees, costs, and prejudgment interest. Our attorneys have the skills and actual track record in obtaining a Consumer Fraud Act award.

Piercing the Corporate Veil of Developer that is an LLC

Developers and their contractors utilize the Internal Revenue Code to form “Limited Liability Companies” or “LLCs” to minimize their liability.  Unless properly and vigorously pursued, an Association can wind up with a Judgment that cannot be collected. It is important to hire a firm with the right skills and track record to “pierce the corporate veil” of these LLCs, when the law allows, to maximize the Associations’ recovery.

Transition and Construction Defect Litigation, the Griffin Alexander Way

We offer a series of options to our clients to effectuate a calm and productive resolution to problems as they arise – thereby minimizing the need for prolonged litigation where possible. We help boards with getting the developers motivated to finalize the transition, as well as handle the intricacies associated with municipal, performance and work bonds.

We are experienced in litigation, but that is not our first choice of remedy. We engage in all forms of alternate dispute resolution from personally sitting down with developers to resolve disputes, to utilizing mediation, arbitration, and judicial conferences.

However, in the event litigation proves necessary, we are equipped with the experience necessary to work through the court process from start to finish. At Griffin Alexander, P.C., we are no strangers to the challenges of courtroom advocacy. Our attorneys combine more than 75 years of legal experience to offer comprehensive and personalized services to the clients that we represent.  In fact, you will find that every member of our litigation team is experienced in taking your matter to trial.  Over the years, we have built a strong reputation as tenacious advocates.

Representative Cases:

  • $ 31 million dollar settlement for Hudson County condominium association (excessive settlement, water infiltration, code compliance);
  • $ 24 million dollar settlement for West New York condominium association (excessive settlement, water infiltration, code compliance)
  • $ 20 million dollar jury verdict for Hudson River Waterfront condominium association, including treble damage award against developer under Consumer Fraud Act;
  • $ 13 million dollar settlement for North Bergen condominium association for excessive settlement, roofing issues, facade defects and water infiltration;
  • $  6 million dollar settlement for Essex County condominium association for facade failure, roofing issues, and water infiltration;
  • $  4.8 million dollar settlement for Essex  County condominium association for roofing, framing, EIFS and brick defects;
  • $  4 million dollar settlement for Jersey City condominium association for EIFS, roofing, brick, and stoop defects;
  • $  2 million dollar settlement for Hoboken condominium association for window, brick and water infiltration issues;
  • $  1.2 million dollar settlement for Bergen County condominium association for construction defects including deficient roofing and framing; and
  • $  1 million dollar settlement for Morris County condominium association for various construction defects.

Firm founder Robert C. Griffin, Esq. is a career litigator and mediator who serves as general counsel to a number of community associations, guiding those organizations through the transition from developer to homeowner control and overseeing the firm’s construction defect litigation. A former prosecutor who cut his teeth trying criminal cases, Mr. Griffin often represents clients in court, and before planning and zoning boards.

Founder Jennifer L. Alexander, Esq. can be found in court on average three times a week, throughout New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Ms. Alexander is also an accomplished commercial real estate attorney, who serves on the advisory board for the Center for Real Estate at Rutgers University.

Shareholder Brian R. Griffin, Esq. has years of experience assisting community associations through their transition processes and mediating disputes.

Counsel Matthew Meyers has thirty (30) years of experience in litigating transition and construction disputes. He specializes in representing community associations through the transition process from developer to homeowner control and, over the course of his career, has accumulated over $115,000,000.00 in total verdicts and settlements on behalf of his clients.

Contact a New Jersey Community Association Attorney Today For Guidance on Transition and Construction Law Defects

Griffin Alexander, P.C. attorneys are prepared to appear in court on behalf of the over 250 community associations we represent and will zealously advocate for their rights under New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania Community Association Law. We are proud to provide personal service. We take the time to know and understand the needs of our clients and place special focus on resolving their issues and meeting their goals.

If your association has concerns or questions related to the New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania Community Association Law or Condominium Association Law that governs community associations, we encourage you to contact a New Jersey community association attorney at Griffin Alexander, P.C. today to schedule a consultation.

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