Lawsuit against condo developer ends in $1.14 million settlement

By Jon Campisi | Jan 21, 2013

A case involving plaintiffs who claim they were sold near inhabitable condo units in a

posh Philadelphia neighborhood has settled for more than $1 million.

Records show that late last month, the parties in LaForte v. 431 Fairmount Avenue Associates reached a $1,114,295 settlement agreement, with the amount comprising the refunded cost of the units, which were transferred back to the building’s developer, as well as lawyer’s fees relating to the litigation.

The case was initiated back in late November 2008 when plaintiffs Jennifer LaForte, Natalee Felten, Craig Schroeder, Amy Apollo and Michael Hurley filed a writ of summons in Philadelphia’s Common Pleas Court against 431 Fairmount Avenue Associates LP, 431 Fairmount Avenue General Partner LLC, Alexander Spector and Henry Spector signaling their intention to sue.

An official complaint was then filed in late March 2009, the court docket in the case shows.

The plaintiffs alleged that since purchasing their respective condominium units at Fairmount Quarters in 2006 and 2007, they had to constantly deal with problems such as leaks and flooding, cracked ceilings, warped floorboards, mold and general water damage.

The plaintiffs had alleged that the developer who had purchased the building, which was originally a meatpacking plant and slaughterhouse dating back to the early 20th Century, rushed the job, cutting corners and ignoring problems that warranted attention in the process to sell the units quickly.

The defendants had fraudulently and wrongfully concealed the “numerous substantial defects” in the building, including a roof that was in need of serious repair, in an effort to get the condo units off the market and sold to prospective buyers, the plaintiffs’ complaint alleged.

The plaintiffs claimed they began noticing the defective problems with their living spaces shortly after moving in.

The defendants were accused of violating the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law as well as the state’s Condominium Act.

Matthew Green and Michael Phillips, attorneys with Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel, who represented the plaintiffs, announced recently that the four years of litigation had come to an end after the defendants agreed to settle with their clients for $1.14 million.

As part of the settlement, the units were transferred back to the developer and the plaintiffs’ attorney’s fees were reimbursed.

The building is located in Philadelphia’s gentrified Northern Liberties neighborhood, which is located just outside of Center City.

The defendants were represented by attorneys from Fellheimer & Eichen, as well as lawyers from the firms Marshall, Dennehey, Warner Coleman & Goggin and Cohen, Seglias, Pallas, Greenhall & Furman.

Additional defense counsel included Philadelphia lawyers William Longo and Jonathan Cass, and New York attorney Kimberly Wong.

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