Owners Sue Over Condominiums

Residents Target Developer, Builder, Engineer And Architect In Suit

January 19, 1992|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff writer

Homeowners at The Pointe condominiums in Abingdon are suing the developer, builder, engineer and architect, claiming faulty construction of the homes poses safety concerns and a decline in property values.

The Pointe Condominium Council of Unit Owners, representing the 228 homeowners of the complex, filed the suit in Harford Circuit Court Jan. 9, citing "severe problems" with roofs, walls, floors, stairs, balconies, windows and doors.

They want $115 million in compensation.

The suit also alleges problems with the electrical, mechanical and fire protection systems in buildings.

"The problems have resulted in property damage, diminution in value, and serious risk of personal injury or death to occupants of the units," the council contends in the the 52-page suit.

The 228-unit complex, off Route 24 near the Interstate 95 interchange, was developed and built in the late 1980s by The Pointe Inc. and Hendersen-Webb Inc., both of Cockeysville, Baltimore County.

Herbert Goldman, a Baltimore attorney representing The Pointe Inc. and Hendersen-Webb, declined comment.

The suit also names as defendants Menefee & Associates Ltd., a Baltimore architectural firm; Skarda & Associates Inc., a Baltimore engineering firm; Morris & Ritchie Associates Inc. and Geo-Technologies Inc., the Bel Air firms that performed site inspections for the county during construction of the condominiums.

The condominium owners accuse the defendants of civil conspiracy, fraud, negligence, breach of warranty and contract, and violationsof the federal Consumer Protection Act.

The council contends in the suit that the defendants permitted substandard workmanship in the construction and necessary repairs of the units.

The plaintiff also asserts that improper materials were used in the units and that specifications were not met during construction of the complex, the suitsays.

The Pointe Inc. and Hendersen-Webb are accused of conspiring to make "false representation" regarding the building materials of the units to potential buyers, the suit says.

As an example, the suit contends one-eighth-inch thermo-plywood was installed instead of gypsum sheathing for the fire-safety in roofs and attics of the units.

Despite repeated notification by owners of construction deficiencies, The Pointe and Hendersen-Webb failed to investigate and correctproblems, the suit contends.

Menefee and Skarda, the architectural and engineering firms, are accused of negligent design and supervision.

The council claims the firms did not properly supervise construction of the units.

Morris & Ritchie and Geo-Technologies are accused of negligence in that they did not properly monitor the construction of the units according to the county's construction codes, the suit says.

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