Defective Products

Wilmington Defective Construction Product Attorneys

Holding Negligent Construction Manufacturers Accountable

For more than 30 years, founding partner Joel Rhine has represented individual clients and acted as class-action counsel for defective construction material claims. Whether a collapsed deck, construction accident, or some other property damage has brought the issue to your attention, Rhine Law Firm, P.C., has the resources and experience to help you file a claim.

The harm caused by defective construction materials goes beyond property damage. Defective materials can significantly increase the risk of injury, exposing homeowners and housing associations to liability. Our firm pursues claims against negligent manufacturers or materials suppliers for issues like:

  • Defective shingles and roofing supplies.
  • Faulty siding.
  • Defective or leaky windows.
  • Defective HVAC and air quality systems.
  • Defective decking or dock materials, which could lead to collapses.
  • Poor quality of building materials.

Inferior materials that may hold up in the mountains or the Piedmont often break down when exposed to the humid, coastal climate of Wilmington and North Carolina's beaches. Manufacturers and contractors must take this into account when engaging in any construction project in the area. Our lawyers have extensive experience helping clients whose properties suffered damage or whose loved ones were injured as a result of construction products that were not designed to stand up to salt and sea air. We launch a full investigation to identify all liable parties, from the manufacturer of the products used to a negligent subcontractor who may not have built to code.

Breach of Contract

Most construction-project-related claims stem from a contract breach, which should include the following as proof:

  • A contract did exist.
  • The terms of the contract were breached.
  • An explanation of the details and circumstances creating the breach.
  • The damages that have occurred.

These matters are based on a failure by the defendant to build in a "workmanlike" manner, basically that the work was faulty or the materials used were below the requirements expected in the contract.

Breach of Warranty

Many states provide express warranties within statutes outlining the duties of home builders. North Carolina holds new home builders to implied warranties that essentially guarantee that a home will be constructed in a reasonable manner and be habitable.

  • Express warranties: Warranties that are specifically agreed upon and listed in the agreement. Often these may be contained within the "General Conditions" section. Typical information includes duty specifications and the time frames for completion.
  • Implied warranties: These warranties are based on the nature of the transaction; many exist in North Carolina construction law. A key implied warranty relates to the owner or builder’s plan specifications provided to the contractor. If a defect exists within, the contractor is entitled to recover costs for work based on defective plans and work to remedy the defect.

Negligence

Negligence is a failure to provide a reasonable standard of care according to statute or common law based on the circumstances. To prove negligence in a construction project the requirements are:

  • A standard-of-care duty is a matter of law.
  • The standards were not conformed to.
  • A relationship exists between the non-conformance and the resultant defect.
  • Actual damages exist.

Punitive damages, which are designed to punish the wrongdoer, may be possible if the actions were willful and wanton. The party must have deliberately not fulfilled a duty, such as a failure to execute something necessary to ensure safety.

Statute of Limitations

Claims must be brought in matters of contract and negligence within a period of three years. An exception exists in home construction for owners who could not have reasonably been expected to discover a breach until a long period elapses. An example would be the collapse of a floor board after several years due to using poor-quality wood. Other states employ a variety of limitation periods, most of which are based on when the owner becomes aware of a defective condition.

Statute of Repose

North Carolina maintains a distinctive time-barring statute in construction-related litigation known as the statute of repose. Homeowners have six years to bring suit for construction defects in improvement of real property projects. The purpose of enactment was partially to give confidence to builders regarding potential claims.

Common Stucco-Related Defect

Home construction involving the use of stucco has historically resulted in much litigation. One such problem is common in homes built with stucco over wood framing. This problem stems from water that seeps through the walls and begins to rot the interior, which can destroy the structural integrity of the home. These homes were mostly built in the early 2000s, and the water retention causes significant mold.

In the mid-nineties, home-exterior construction using synthetic stucco, known as an exterior insulation and finish system (EIFS), became popular. The exterior finish looked great, was design-oriented, and lowered energy bills. Unfortunately, repeated instances of water intrusion led to many individual and class-actions suits associated with defective materials throughout North Carolina.

Pursuing construction litigation frequently becomes quite complex. It takes an attorney with experience in this highly nuanced area of law, such as Joel Rhine and others at our firm, to help you obtain the fair and reasonable compensation to which you may be entitled.

Our Promise to You

  • National Practice with a Local Presence
  • Hundreds of Millions of Dollars Won
  • Over 30 Years of Experience
  • Experienced, Thorough & Dedicated Attorneys
  • Spanish-Speaking Services Available
  • Evening & Weekend Appointments Available Upon Request

We're Ready to Help

To discuss your options with an experienced North Carolina construction litigation lawyer, contact Rhine Law Firm, P.C., at (910) 501-2474 for a free initial consultation. Office hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Evening and weekend appointments are available upon request. We also offer Spanish translation services.

Additional Information

  • “Joel Rhine and his staff did everything possible to help us in a very dark period of our lives.”

    - John
  • “We were blessed to have them fighting for us and never giving up.”

    - Stewart
  • “Joel and Chris were there for us in every need.”

    - Mary
  • “Rhine Law Firm has a friendly, caring, professional staff and they worked hard for me.”

    - Becky
  • “We were very pleased with the outcome of working with Rhine Law Firm.”

    - Former Client
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