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New York Construction Law Blog

How do you defend against a mold claim by a former client?

Posted by Karl Silverberg | Mar 02, 2021 | 0 Comments

Working in construction means taking responsibility for everything that your crew does at a job site. It also sometimes means people expecting you to take responsibility for things that happen well after you finish your construction job.

For example, you may have built someone a home half a decade ago, only to get served unexpectedly with lawsuit paperwork. It turns out that this client who had you build the home for them now wants to hold you financially responsible for the mold that has grown in their basement.

Mold remediation can be expensive, which is why homeowners often look for a way to pass the cost on to someone else. What defense options do you have when a client tries to blame you for the growth of mold in a property you built?

Internal records can help show you followed best practices

When a client tries to blame you for mold development at their property, they essentially want to blame you for water incursion or similar issues that led to the mold developing inside the edifice. You can defend your company by demonstrating that you took every reasonable and necessary precaution to prevent water from getting into the building.

If you can show through construction records that your company adhered to all necessary building codes and that the final edifice was structurally sound, the client will have a harder time convincing the courts that your company is solely responsible for the mold developing in their home.

Look into the situation and develop an alternate explanation

It is certainly true that mold sometimes develops in properties where contractors failed to properly waterproof or plan for drainage needs. However, mold issues could also be the result of someone cutting corners with plumbing installation or upgrades. People could also cause mold in their own homes by doing something illegal, like growing marijuana in their house.

Determining what the client used the space for, the source of the water incursion and how long the mold has been an issue can all help your company establish the best way to defend against the toxic mold claim.

In some cases, your insurance may protect you from such claims, making defending against them unnecessary. Other times, if you don't have specialized coverage, fighting back might be necessary to protect your company from thousands of dollars in costs.

About the Author

Karl Silverberg

Karl Silverberg Contact Me: (631) 778-6077 Email me Practice Areas: Construction Law Biography Prior to law school, Mr. Silverberg worked as a professional engineer, and has eight years of experience working as a structural engineer on public sector transportation projects. Mr. Silver...


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