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Construction defect disputes simmering in Southwest Florida

Regular readers of our legal blog will undoubtedly recall a couple of recent posts about Paseo, a Mediterranean-style luxury condo development in Fort Myers. Stock Development LLC, the project's developer, and its sister construction company, Stock Construction, have struggled to address construction defects in condos there.

The two are experiencing similar difficulties close to their corporate home in Naples, a recent news source stated. The Stock companies are suing subcontractors in Collier County Circuit Court over defects in Olé, its luxury resort-style residential community billed as "exclusive yet accessible."

But they are themselves the subject of litigation, including claims by a couple that construction defects at their multimillion-dollar home have made it "uninhabitable."

The Olé Condominium Association alleges that there are defects in both the construction design of buildings at the community.

Stock Development's VP of sales and marketing said, "We are aware of a claim related to 13 buildings in Olé," adding that Stock is being "very responsive" to owners complaining about defects, as are the involved subcontractors.

Stock has used some of the same subcontractors in both its Olé and Paseo high-end condo developments, including architects and roofers. In fact, Stock is suing more than 20 subcontractors, with allegations ranging from negligence to breach of contract and building code violations.

Olé's general manager said the condo association knows that Stock has filed suit against subcontractors and that its board is "concerned about the allegations raised."

The board president of Olé's condominium association said the organization has taken care of repairs as residents have requested them, hiring contractors for the fixes.

"We want the best we can get," he said of the association's contractors.

It is, of course, understandable that owners are unhappy with homes with water intrusion issues at both Paseo and Olé. Prices at the Naples community begin in the low $200,000 range and soar upwards from there.

The condo association president said he believes the defects plaguing the community are the result of several factors, including hurried construction, complex building design, lack of oversight by the developer and a construction company that did not have enough skilled workers.

In a deposition in the lawsuit brought by the Olé couple with the flawed $2.7 million home, the CEO of Stock Development stated that he told his "capable people" to "take care" of the problems there. The company says the couple has blocked access needed to fix the issues, which has only made matters worse.

The couple rejects those claims and says mold and built-up gases have made their home unsafe. They also say their roof and windows leak and the air conditioning system does not work.

Their lawsuit is scheduled for trial early next year.

There are clearly many complex issues to be settled in the legal actions surrounding the developer, general contractor and subcontractors. Those who are confronted with similarly difficult construction defect issues should contact an attorney experienced in protecting the rights and investments of condo and homeowner associations.

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