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“Where is our House?”: Wrongfully Terminated Home Builder Awarded Damages in Arbitration

A home builder contracted to build a custom home for a couple for a fixed price. Unfortunately, the construction of the home was anything but a dream. After a series of events for which the customers blamed the builder, they terminated the contract for default. Although the customers were actively involved with the construction of the home and the husband represented himself as an expert in “topography,” they claimed the builder built their home in the wrong location and at the wrong elevation. The customers also claimed the builder was responsible for delays despite the substantial changes they had requested to the home. When the customers refused to pay the builder for the work it performed before the termination, the builder recorded a mechanic’s lien. The builder’s mechanic’s lien foreclosure action was stayed pending arbitration under the contract. After the arbitration hearing, in which the builder was represented by Karl Berg and Hilary Roland, the arbitrator determined the builder had been wrongfully terminated and awarded it all damages it had sought. The customers’ claims were denied. Under the construction contract, the builder was also awarded over $73,000 in attorney’s fees and costs under the parties’ contract., turning the builder’s nightmare into a dream.

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