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$1.026 Mil. Awarded in Construction Negligence Case A Montgomery County jury has awarded a Flourtown couple $1.026 million in a construction negligence case after an eight-day trial that ended last week, an attorney for the plaintiff said. Ronald and Janet Kimball had sued their builder and their architect for alleged negligent design and construction of their Country Club Estates home in Whitemarsh Township, according to court documents. The eight-member jury found the builder, Arnold Trueblood, and his company, Trueblood Construction Co., 72 percent liable on five counts, including negligence, breach of contract, and breach of statutory warranty under the state Unfair Trade Practices Act, said Rhonda Fulginiti of Cozen O’Connor, who represented the Kimballs with Julie Negovan of Cozen. Trueblood’s attorney, Joseph F. Van Horn of Bodell Bove Grace & Van Horn, declined to comment. Van Horn’s co-counsel was David Corujo of Goldfein & Joseph. The jury, which deliberated Kimball v. Trueblood Construction Co. for four hours on March 24, also found the architect, Joel Levinson, 28 percent liable. But Fulginiti said her clients had settled with Levinson years before trial for an undisclosed amount. Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge Maurino J. Rossanese Jr. presided. The house the defendants designed and built was finished in 1993, but, according to the Kimballs’ complaint, after they moved in, they found water leaks that eventually led to the collapse of the ceiling in the kitchen dinette. They also encountered deteriorating drywall throughout the house, electrical problems, and improperly installed skylights, windows, gutters, cabinetry and insulation, according to court documents. The Kimballs also alleged Trueblood had violated the state unfair trade practices law by misrepresenting aspects of the construction and the materials needed for building, according to court documents. They demanded $1.026 million in damages, Fulginiti said. Trueblood disputed the liability claims, saying the builders had constructed the house to the architect’s design specifications, which were approved by the Kimballs. Trueblood contended that the workmanship was reasonable and the house habitable, according to court documents. Fulginiti said she plans to ask for delay damages back to 1993 when the house was completed, as well as attorney fees. She also said the judge might treble the damage award because the jury found the defendants liable under a section of the unfair trade practices act that allows the trebling of damages. – Melissa Nann

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