Fairlie & Lippy, P.C. won a major victory against The Cutler Group, Inc. d/b/a The David Cutler Group, Inc. (“Cutler”) in the Pennsylvania Superior Court. Cutler built a stucco home that leaked, among other problems. Pennsylvania law is clear that the builder of a new home extends an implied warranty of habitability to the initial purchaser of the home. We have handled many suits against builders for defective stucco construction in Montgomery County, Bucks County, Chester County, and Delaware County. In this suit, however, Cutler argued that since the homeowners were subsequent purchasers, that is, they bought their home from the original homeowners, they were barred from suing for the defective construction. No Pennsylvania court had addressed this issue in the past. The problem with Cutler’s argument is that the implied warranty of habitability was adopted in Pennsylvania based on a public policy consideration – that builders, as opposed to homeowners, have more knowledge and control about the building process than the consumer, and therefore should be held accountable for building a product that is not habitable. Further, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court did not want to see Pennsylvania littered with homes that could not be lived in. As a result, the implied warranty of habitability was extended to the construction and sale of all new homes in Pennsylvania. In the case we just won, the Superior Court held that it would make no sense to extend that protection to the first purchaser, but then to let the builder of the defective home off the hook if another family bought the home. Homes are regularly bought and sold, and the Superior Court held that such sales should not create a windfall for the builder – the builder should have to stand behind the product. Builders are protected by the statute of limitations (four years, but tempered by the discovery rule, which holds that the statute of limitations is tolled until the homeowner knew or should have known of the existence of a substantial defect – and further tempered by the repair doctrine, which tolls the statute when a builder says he has repaired a defect) and the statute of repose, which bars a suit against the builder of a home beyond twelve years from the sale regardless of the circumstances. The upshot of this landmark holding is that, for the first time in Pennsylvania, subsequent purchasers of residential homes have a clear right to sue the builder for breaches of the implied warranty of habitability. If this situation applies to you, contact Fairlie & Lippy to discuss your case.