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FROM THE BENCH: Maryland court sides with developer, not homeowner


One of the many reasons why residential projects tend to be high risk is the court's propensity to side with homeowners. Now, a federal court in Maryland has dismissed several counts against a homebuilder because the homebuilder's standard contract — accepted by the home purchaser without change — included a provision that shortened the time that otherwise would have been available for the homeowner to sue the developer. The provision stated that any cause of action not covered by the home’s statutorily required "limited warranty" would be valid only if the homeowner filed suit within one year of buying the property. Ultimately, the homeowner filed breach-of-contract, negligence, and fraud claims against the developer, but did so more than a year after he closed on the property. The court cited Maryland's policy of allowing parties to bargain for the scope of liability. It said it found the developer's limitation reasonable and so dismissed the claims. Savage v. Centex/Taylor, LLC, Civil Action No. RDB-11-2134 (D. Md. Mar. 19, 2012) more

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