Bill Davidson & João Medeiros Prevail on a Plaintiff’s Appeal Challenging a District Court Victory By Jason Prochnow

August 18, 2016

The Minnesota Building Code means what it says, the Minnesota Court of Appeals recently ruled, affirming a summary judgment ruling obtained by Jason Prochnow. The construction-defect case involved a lawsuit by a general contractor who sued a masonry subcontractor for installing a single layer of 15-pound felt behind stone veneer siding that the subcontractor had installed on a house in Minnesota. A district court judge dismissed the lawsuit last year after finding that the 15-pound felt was required by the Minnesota Building Code and therefore the subcontractor had done nothing wrong.

The contractor appealed the decision to the Minnesota Court of Appeals, arguing that the district court should have applied the stucco provisions of the Code and that the district court should have let a jury consider expert testimony on what the Code required. Bill Davidson and João Medeiros represented the subcontractor in the appeal. The Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court, ruling that expert testimony is not required to interpret an unambiguous provision of the Code. The appeals court agreed with the district court that the stone and masonry provisions of the Code controlled the installation of the stone-veneer siding, and that the subcontractor had used the materials required by the Code.