Condo owners may sue developer; trial court's spoliation order was too broad
The Court of Appeals recently decided several issues in a civil action between Oakland County's Heritage in the Hills condo owners and the developer. The owners argued that the developer sold property with a number of defects, including concrete common areas that were deteriorating; they argued that the developer violated the consumer protection act. The trial court had dismissed the owners' claims and also held that they could not prove that the concrete was defective because they had not retained the samples that they tested and which allegedly documented shoddy workmanship.
The Court of Appeals reversed and reinstated the owners' common area claims. It also noted that the owners' failure to retain the concrete samples prevented them from entering into evidence the results of the original testing on these samples, but did not prevent them from testing additional samples from the ample remaining common area concrete structures. The trial court's original "spoliation of evidence" order, which purported to prevent the owners from using any evidence of concrete testing, was simply too broad and over-encompassing.