State Supreme Court sides with Sun City residents seeking class-action status in stucco dispute

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State Supreme Court sides with Sun City residents seeking class-action status in stucco dispute



By ALLISON STICE
astice@islandpacket.com
843-706-8138

info@islandpacket.com
Published Wednesday, October 6, 2010   |  316 Words  |  

A state Supreme Court decision may allow Sun City Hilton Head homeowners to pursue a class-action lawsuit for alleged defective stucco work.

The opinion released Monday reverses a Circuit Court ruling that struck down class-action status for a suit alleging improper stucco application, which caused water damage and rot. A court must first certify the class before such a lawsuit can be filed. A Circuit Court hearing on that issue has not been scheduled.

The suit against South Carolina State Plastering LLC was filed three years ago by Anthony and Barbara Grazia of Sun City and alleges negligent construction on more than 2,500 homes in the gated community that "would require ... stripping the homes of the existing stucco and recladding with a properly installed stucco system," the Supreme Court's opinion reads. State Plastering filed a third-party complaint against developer Del Webb Communities Inc., builder Pulte Homes Inc. and Kephart Architects Inc.

A statement from Del Webb says a third-party engineering firm surveyed the homes and repairs already have been made "in isolated incidents where a stucco issue was present."

Representatives for Pulte did not respond Wednesday to requests for comment.

W. Jefferson Leath Jr. of Charleston-based law firm Leath, Bouch & Seekings said the four attorneys in the Grazia case collectively represent more than 140 Sun City homeowners claiming stucco defects.

"If Pulte follows their standard course, they will take some action to prolong (the lawsuit), whether it be a petition to the Supreme Court to reconsider or some other action," Leath said.

Everett Kendall of the Columbia-based firm Sweeny Wingate & Barrow, one of four lawyers representing the defendants, said they may petition for a rehearing. They may also seek clarification from the legislature on its original intent in creating the law that he lower court used to deny class-action status.