Homeowners say the David Cutler Group is a fraud. The State’s Attorney General seems to agree, accusing one of Pennsylvania’s largest residential developers of violating building codes in numerous stucco-clad homes.
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“When a family’s largest investment is on the line, there’s no excuse for sub-standard construction. We believe homeowners deserve compensation.”
— Perry Liss, Esq.
The David Cutler Group, a residential developer in Montgomery County, is being sued by the State of Pennsylvania over allegations that shoddy construction work left families to pay out-of-pocket for costly stucco remediation. In a new lawsuit, the State’s Attorney General accuses the Cutler Group of misrepresenting the quality of its construction, selling “luxury” properties, but “failing to provide new homes that were weather-resistant.”
Cutler Group’s Stucco Homes “Defective,” Families Claim
Today, the David Cutler Group is at the center of a growing problem, one just coming to light in Pennsylvania. Stucco-clad homes throughout the Delaware Valley are rotting away at an alarming rate. Home inspection experts call it a billion dollar “epidemic.”
The David Cutler Group builds residential developments throughout southeastern Pennsylvania. Quiet single-family homes sit behind manicured lawns in desirable school districts. In marketing materials, the Cutler Group presents itself as “the largest privately held residential builder in the Delaware Valley.” According to Philadelphia’s 6ABC, the company prides itself on “meticulous attention to detail,” with “luxury” residential developments in Bucks, Chester and Montgomery Counties.
However, many homeowners say that the David Cutler Group’s construction is far from the highest quality. Behind the facades, families have found rotting structural beams and black mold, serious health hazards that have forced some to move out.
State Accuses Cutler Group Of Violating PA Law
Pennsylvania’s Attorney General’s Office appears to agree. After lengthy investigations, the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection uncovered evidence that the Cutler Group had “failed to comply with manufacturer’s recommendations, building codes and accepted industry standards involving the installation of stucco, weather barriers and flashings.”
In a lawsuit filed on October 5, 2016, Chief Deputy Attorney General Sarah A.E. Frasch says that the David Cutler Group violated Pennsylvania’s Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law – “willfully” misrepresenting the quality of its construction to prospective home purchasers. Even more troubling, the State claims that Cutler continued using “substandard construction practices,” even after being warned of the problem.
Old & New Homes Damaged By Water Infiltration
In some cases, the suit maintains, the alleged defects in “Cutler’s construction are so severe that the consumers experience noticeable effects within weeks of taking possession of their homes.” Worried by remediation projects in the neighborhood, one prospective buyer was allegedly assured by the Cutler Group that “there were no issues with the home” he planned on purchasing. Once the sale went through, the new homeowner discovered “leaks around the windows and basement” soon after moving in.
The company’s response to stucco issues has also come under criticism. In the Attorney General’s lawsuit, the State accuses the company of failing to honor home warranties, attempting incomplete or “ineffective” repairs after being informed of a problem. One homeowner, cited in the State’s complaint, says that the Cutler Group put caulking around a number of leaking windows, but the repair was largely worthless. The leaks continued, the lawsuit alleges, resulting in “significant rot, decay and mold,” along with remediation costs of more than $120,000.
Cutler denies violating any building codes in the construction of its stucco homes, but many owners find that claim hard to believe. In fact, a number of families have already filed David Cutler Group lawsuits over alleged stucco defects in several Pennsylvania communities, including Providence Lea and the Estates at Warwick Lea. Our attorneys have been retained to represent many of these homeowners in their pursuit of compensation.
Homeowners Sue Cutler Over Stucco “Defects”
Eric Charran is looking at estimates between $84,000 and $100,000, all to conduct a thorough stucco remediation for his Cutler-built stucco home in Montgomery County. The damage is particularly insulting, since Charran paid a premium to have his home covered in stucco. But after consulting with home inspectors, he learned that his stucco “isn’t up to code in terms of its thickness and […] wasn’t hung correctly.” Without repair, the man says his home would eventually crumble from the inside out.
Now, Charran is among 79 homeowners from the same development to file a stucco remediation lawsuit against the David Cutler Group. Like the State’s Attorney General, families claim that the Cutler Group violated building codes, leaving stucco-clad homes vulnerable to water damage.
In several developments, nearly every stucco-clad home has begun the long, and costly, remediation process. In Eric Charran’s development, the Reserve at Knapp Farm, dozens of families have been having similar problems. Charran only decided to have a moisture inspection performed after hearing from neighbors about their own water damage discoveries.
Families Awarded Thousands Against Cutler
Several stucco lawsuits against the Cutler Group have already reached resolution.
In one recent complaint, a couple accused the Cutler Group of engaging in “unlawful conduct in order to hide the home’s significant water problems and avoid its promise and obligation to repair.” The homeowners were awarded over $317,000, according to 6ABC, although the Cutler Group has appealed the decision.
Company Has Faced Years Of Lawsuits
The Cutler Group’s legal troubles go back years. In 2013, homeowners in Jamison, Pennsylvania were awarded more than $151,000 over water damage and wood rot in a Cutler-built stucco home. The owners, who purchased their home from its initial buyers, argued that Cutler’s construction had been so sub-standard that it violated the “implied warranty of habitability.” Essentially, the home was sold in an unlivable condition, according to the family, who had to pay out-of-pocket for a remediation project before suing the developer.
In a 2014 case, reported by Lexis Legal News, a couple was awarded nearly $80,000 after discovering “excessive” moisture levels in their home, again built by the David Cutler Group. The moisture levels, according to an indoor air quality expert, were conducive to mold growth, requiring immediate repairs. While the Cutler Group agreed to carry out a remediation, the work would only be performed if the homeowners paid for it. Left without another option, the couple hired their own contractor to do the project, eventually paying $78,802.50.
Then, the family sued, accusing Cutler of breach of contract and warranty. A judge for the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas agreed, ordering the company to compensate the couple for repairs. The judgment was upheld on appeal.
David Cutler Group Lawsuits
Thousands of families in Pennsylvania have discovered that significant water damage is compromising the structural integrity of their homes. If the reports of consumers and the State of Pennsylvania are true, many of these stucco-clad homes were built and sold by the David Cutler Group. Remediation projects can easily soar into the six-figures, to say nothing of the burden and inconvenience that shoddy construction places on families.
If you own a Cutler Group home, our stucco defect attorneys want to know about it. Contact our experienced lawyers today to learn more about your legal options. We offer a free initial consultation, so you can find more information at no risk.
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