Louisiana Supreme Court Decision – John Minor, Expert – New Home Buyers Warranty Act

Damage to structural sheathing
Damage to structural sheathing. Picture by John Minor

Structural Inspection
Shaw Residence – Gonzalez, LA.

Subject of case law for Louisiana New Home Buyers Warranty Act

John Minor of Complete, Inc. was asked to review the damages to the above referenced property after being referred by a Louisiana General Contractor. The residence appeared to be of high quality built on a golf course at the Point in S. Louisiana. The residence had suffered damage from Hurricane Gustav but was also damaged by builder liability. John was charged with delineating the damages and costs between the two causes and proving those damages in accordance with the New Home Buyers Warranty Act. See the act attached:

pdf_download Download the Louisiana New Home Warranty Act ››

CompleteAtWork
Complete @ work. Picture by John Minor.

As you read the details of the Act, there are many exclusions as to what is actionable and what is not. Primarily the act is broken into those items that fall under a 1 year statute and those that fall under a 5 year statute. I was designated and affirmed as an expert in water intrusion, structural damages and costs associated with same. I gave testimony that apparently ended up being heard by the Louisiana Supreme Court. My testimony in a nut shell was that failed methods of installing the exterior stucco, windows & doors had affected the wall system structurally before the 5 year anniversary of the construction of the home. I used a number of reproducible techniques to inspect the residence. The first method I employed was a careful visual observation of the installed components and interviews with the persons most knowledgeable of the history of the residence.

After speaking with the owner, I reviewed the exterior and looked for head flashings at the windows and doors, proper allowance for expansion in the stucco system, as well as kick out and other flashings. In my inspection I eventually decided to cut into the stucco to review the installation of the weather resistant barrier and take moisture meter readings without the possibility of false high readings due to the metal lath behind the stucco. Interestingly, in the process of doing so I found a colony of lady bugs that I have since found are a predator to other insects. I also found a number of high moisture readings in the sheathing as well some locations in the windows that were rotted such that the cellulose was incapable of reading the electrical signal that a moisture meter relies on to determine resistance and therefore moisture. In that occasion I was able to simply place my key into the wood. I took the stand at the request of Rick Allessi, Esq. and the case was initially won in local court, following that it was overturned due to the interpretation of the next court however it was eventually upheld by the La Supreme Court.

pdf_download Download the Louisiana Supreme Court Decision/Opinion ››

Water Intrusion Diagnostics
Water Intrusion Diagnostics. Key shown penetrating into rotted wood beneath the painted surface. Picture by John Minor.

Please feel free to contact me for a thorough understanding of water intrusion, the structural damages that may follow in any capacity. I work in many occasions where clients that I serve have done everything right or in matters requiring subrogation. I am a licensed general contractor in multiple states, a thermographer, flood plain manager and property claims appraiser & umpire. I work nationwide and have been involved in water intrusion claims since the early nineties. If you are in the need of an expert that will work in a reasonable thought out fashion to determine what is going on in a disputed claim.

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