Ryland Sues Its Insurance Carriers

Developer Seeks Payment For Repairs

August 25, 1991|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Staff writer

The Columbia-based developer, Ryland Homes, is suing several of its insurance carriers for failing to pay for the replacement of defective plywood in thousands of Ryland-built homes.

Ryland expects to spend at least $13 million to correct damage in town house roofs built with fire retardant-treated plywood, according to the lawsuit, filed Aug. 16 in Howard County Circuit Court.

Ryland's insurance carriers, which supplied the company with general liability insurance, have refused to cover the roof repair costs,according to the suit.

Ryland claims the insurers are obligated, under terms of the

insurance policies, to protect the company fromliability stemming from property damage.

Problems with the FRT plywood have surfaced nationwide over the past two years. In Howard County, as many as 18,000 homes could be affected.

The chemicals usedin the plywood to prevent the spread of fire have been found to cause premature deterioration of the wood, making the homes unsafe, the suit says.

"These chemicals cause the wood prematurely to discolor and darken, become brittle and wavy and lose its structural integrity," the suit says.

"In addition, the roofs are, or soon will become, unsightly, un

safe, and dangerous, posing a risk of serious personal injury to the occupants of the homes and to any persons who walkon the roofs."

When Ryland became aware of the problem in the late 1980s, the company conducted roof inspections and began recently torepair and replace the damaged roofs.

To date, Ryland has spent $1.2 million to correct the damage, the suit states.

Ryland's lawsuit follows a similar suit filed earlier this month by the Forsgate condominium association in Columbia.

The association is seeking $384,000 in damages from the property's developer, Keogh Homes of Allview, to pay for the replacement of FRT plywood in roofs.

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