Construction Litigation Allen vs. V & A Brothers, Inc., 208 N.J. 114 (2011)
Allen vs. V & A Brothers is one of the most important New Jersey Consumer Fraud decisions and it arises out of the construction of a pool next to the house where I grew up on Wendover Drive in Princeton. As I stood from my backyard, I recall the construction of a massive pool in my neighbor’s backyard. The pool was constructed and sat embedded in a retaining wall of concrete block. The retaining wall looked like the side of a pyramid with one block stacked on top of the next, and I often wondered about its structural soundness. My inclination turned out to be correct. There were a number of problems with the pool and wall. The pool began to sink and the wall was not secure and was supported by inferior backfill material. There were various consumer fraud claims in the case including the failure to execute a written contract, failing to obtain final approval for the construction before accepting final payment, and the failure to obtain the plaintiffs’ consent before modifying the wall. Initially the individual defendants were dismissed from the case. However, the claims against them were reinstated. The Allen Court decided the very important issue of whether employees and officers of a corporation may be individually liable under the Consumer Fraud Act for the acts they undertake through the corporate entity. While the Court noted that this is a fact sensitive analysis, it found that the employees or officers can be held liable where they participate in the misconduct or approve the misconduct.
The Allen decision is very important decision because many home improvement contractors are here one day and gone the next. As a result, now plaintiffs have a potential claim against the officers of the entity and/or the employees regardless of whether the entity no longer exists.
For more information regarding home improvement contractor claims, contact the Law Office of H. Benjamin Sharlin LLC for a free initial consultation. The Law Office of H. Benjamin Sharlin LLC is owned and operated by H. Benjamin Sharlin, Esquire and is proud to serve all of Mercer County, New Jersey and the surrounding counties.
Please be advised that this blog is for informational purposes only, is not legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.
The Law Office of H. Benjamin Sharlin LLC
is owned and operated by H. Benjamin Sharlin and serves all of Mercer County, New Jersey and the surrounding areas. Mr. Sharlin is a bilingual Spanish-speaking attorney who vigorously represents the interests of all his clients.
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