VonHoldt v. Barba & Barba Construction, Inc case

A. Legal Cognizance
1. Facts:
2. Briefly describe the facts.
In 1982, Barba & Barba Construction, Inc. constructed a 900 square feet addition to a single-family house in Glenview, Illinois. In 1993, John VonHoldt purchased the house and noticed a “deflection of the wood flooring at the partition wall separating the master bedroom from an adjoining bathroom” that caused a depression in the floor plane. An investigation revealed the construction by Barba was not built to code. VonHoldt claimed the depression was significant and concealed by the thick carpet, and he filed a suit against Barba.
1. Which facts were key to the outcome?
Key facts include the depression being concealed, the addition being significant, and this defect being discovered more than 10 years later.
2. Legal issue:
3. What legal issue(s) does this case illustrate (i.e. why is this case in the chapter)?
The implied warranty of habitability.
1. What are all of the elements of the main legal rule that this case illustrates? For instance, if the case is about undue influence, list ALL of the elements that the court in this case said had to be proven by the plaintiff.
For the implied warranty of habitability to be valid, the defect of the house must be latent, or not apparent upon a reasonable inspection of the house at the time of sale.
Repeat 2. for each issue raised. (For example, a case may discuss 1. Whether there is an implied-in-fact contract, and II. Whether the UCC or common law applied. If so, you will repeat 2. for each of these two issues.)
B. Expand Perspective, Gain Interpersonal Understanding, and Critically Assess Implications
1. Prevailing party’s point of view:
2. What legal arguments were made by the prevailing party?
I would say Barba & Barba Construction, Inc. were the prevailing party because the case was dismissed.
1. What facts, legal reasoning, social policy, and ethical principles would support a ruling for the prevailing party?
The ten-year statute of repose was the sole support for the dismissal of the case at the Supreme Court level.
1. What were the probable motivations behind the prevailing party’s actions leading up to the dispute? After the dispute?
Barba & Barba did not argue their case because the case was dismissed, but I think the motivations behind their not building the addition to code (which resulted in the case to begin with), had to do with the extra time and money it would take to get the proper approvals.
Repeat 3. for each and every issue in the case.
4. Losing party’s point of view:
5. What legal arguments were made by the losing party?
VonHoldt argued that the defendant breached an implied warranty of habitability.
1. What facts, legal reasoning, social policy, and ethical principles would support a ruling for the losing party?
The defect would not have been apparent upon a reasonable inspection before purchasing the house.
1. What were the probable motivations behind the losing party’s actions leading up to the dispute? After the dispute?
VonHoldt felt he was wronged because the house that he bought has a significant addition that is not built to code that has resulted in part of the house not being properly supported, which will have to be fixed.
Repeat 4. for each and every issue in the case.
5. Judge’s point of view:
6. How did the court rule on each argument?
The court dismissed VonHoldt’s complaint.
1. What facts, legal reasoning, social policy, and ethical principles did the court use to support its ruling?
The implied warranty of habitability is valid in this case, but the action is time-barred by the ten-year statute of repose.
1. What were the probable motivations behind the judge’s decision?
It seems like the courts wanted to rule in favor of Vonholdt because this was within the implied warranty of habitability, but because of the action being barred they could not.
Repeat 5. for each ruling made by the judge.
C. Find Recent Developments and Diverse Theories, Synthesize, and Compare
6. Different Rules: Pose the question “What if the court adopted a different legal rule?”
1. Search the web for other articles to refer to in your article or call an attorney or business professional who may have experience with this type of issue. Write a brief one-paragraph summary of this case or article:
Tassan v. United Development Company: This case involves 7 plaintiffs who brought suit against United Development Co., the builder and seller of several condominium buildings in which these seven plaintiffs were original owners of units in one of the buildings. In one count of the case, they claimed that United breached the implied warranty of habitability due to the long list of defects that would soon result in the Condo Association spending money to fix the problems, which would result in costs assessed to condo association members. The initial trial court dismissed the count, but the appellate court reversed and remanded in favor of the plaintiffs.
1. Ponder and reflect to compare this case to recent news and cases. This is the really cool part. You will be thinking like a legally astute manager, owner, or professional as you read, analyze and compare cases to draw your conclusions. Some neat ideas to help with your analysis: If the outcomes of the recent cases you found are different, can you make sense of the different outcomes? Are there different legal standards that make for different outcomes? Is there a trend leaning more in favor of a plaintiff or defendant’s position? Are the outcomes the same or different simply because the facts are similar or dissimilar? What accounts for the same or different results? Write your thoughts here:
In both cases, the issue of implied warranty of habitability is present. These cases both demonstrate a construction company’s need to be cautious and work diligently to perform their work properly and correctly. Because of the nature of construction and the reliance of individuals on these professionals doing their job with due care, it seems reasonable that courts would be stringent in applying the implied warranty of habitability when dealing with cases such as these.
D. Creative, Application and Critical Thinking Questions
1. Your point of view of the case in the book:
2. Do you agree or disagree with the actual outcome? Why or why not?
Legally, I agree that if the action is time-barred, the courts must dismiss the complaint, but I feel like VonHoldt deserves some kind of restitution or damages of some kind because he should not be responsible for spending the time and money to fix someone else’s mistake.
1. Change it up: Pose the question “What if the facts were different?” Create changes to the facts that would probably result in a different outcome of the case and, using critical thinking and legal reasoning, tell why your change in facts would make a difference.
I think if the original owners had noticed the depression in the floor plane or if the house had sold a few years earlier, then Barba & Barba would be in big trouble because it was their duty as professionals to build the addition properly.
1. How will you apply the lessons from this case to your future career?
I think for an accountant, this falls in the category of due professional care. The lesson I gain from this case is to make certain my actions are appropriate and proper for the job I am performing to avoid being potentially liable for a material mistake comparable to that of Barba & Barba Corporation.
1. Write recommendations to avoid future legal problems and that best suit the objectives of a firm or company in your chosen career field.
Be sure to perform duties in an acceptable and appropriate way to avoid breaching an implied warranty.
5-Keeney V. Keeney
A. Legal Cognizance
1. Facts:
a. Briefly describe the facts. – Barbara Keeney and Milton Keeney were married for a period of time and had a joint bank account under Milton’s business account name K Bar Trailer Manufacturer. During the time they were married, Milton purchases some land using their join bank account but put the land in his parents name to defraud a creditor. Barbara didn’t even realize the land was in the parents name until it come up during their divorce. She then took Milton to court to pursue her half of the land. The court imposed a constructive trust and ordered that the property and inventory be sold and divided between the Keeney’s. The ruling was appealed but later affirmed.
b. Which facts were key to the outcome? – The key fact that the land was put into the parents name to defraud a creditor is what caused for the constructive trust, meaning the court is rectifying a misconduct or unjust enrichment. It didn’t help that Milton and his patents kept it secret that they had put the land in the parents name.
2. Legal issue:
a. What legal issue(s) does this case illustrate (i.e. why is this case in the chapter)?This case is in the chapter because the chapter is about trusts and wills and more specifically it talks about constructive trusts as well which is what the judge granted in the case Keeney V. Keeney.
b. What are all of the elements of the main legal rule that this case illustrates? For instance, if the case is about undue influence, list ALL of the elements that the court in this case said had to be proven by the plaintiff. Barbara had to prove that the money paying for the land came out of her joint bank account with her husband and that the ownership of the land was concealed from her. She also expressed that the land was put into the parents name to defraud a creditor.
Repeat 2. for each issue raised. (For example, a case may discuss 1. Whether there is an implied-in-fact contract, and II. Whether the UCC or common law applied. If so, you will repeat 2. for each of these two issues.)
B. Expand Perspective, Gain Interpersonal Understanding, and Critically Assess Implications
3. Prevailing party’s point of view:
a. What legal arguments were made by the prevailing party? The prevailing party, Barbara, made the argument that she deserves her portion of the land because the purchase was made with their shared money.
b. What facts, legal reasoning, social policy, and ethical principles would support a ruling for the prevailing party?The fact that the land was put into the parents name to defraud a creditor was in bad faith and also that the ownership of the land was kept secret from Barbara.
c. What were the probable motivations behind the prevailing party’s actions leading up to the dispute? After the dispute? Barbara’s only motivation was to retain the land that was hers. She didn’t go after all of the property, only the portion to be split in a divorce.
Repeat 3. for each and every issue in the case.
4. Losing party’s point of view:
a. What legal arguments were made by the losing party? The losing party, Milton and his parents, argued that the land was in the name of the parents and therefore should not be given to Barbara.
b. What facts, legal reasoning, social policy, and ethical principles would support a ruling for the losing party?I believe that the losing party would have been supported if the land wasn’t put into the parents name to defraud a creditor, and if it wasn’t concealed from Barbara that the land was not in Barbara and Milton’s name.
c. What were the probable motivations behind the losing party’s actions leading up to the dispute? After the dispute?The motivation for Milton and his parents was to keep the entire property and not have to split it up because of a divorce since it was in the parents name.
Repeat 4. for each and every issue in the case.
5. Judge’s point of view:
a. How did the court rule on each argument?The court ruled in the favor of Barbara and imposed a constructive trust on the property.
b. What facts, legal reasoning, social policy, and ethical principles did the court use to support its ruling? The court based its decision on the fact that the owners of the land was concealed from Barbara and that the land was put into someone elses name to defraud a creditor.
c. What were the probable motivations behind the judge’s decision?I believe the judges motivation was to follow the law and since the land was put into the parents name to defraud a creditor, he had no other choice to impose a constructive trust.
Repeat 5. for each ruling made by the judge.
C. Find Recent Developments and Diverse Theories, Synthesize, and Compare
6. Different Rules: Pose the question “What if the court adopted a different legal rule?”
a. Search the web for other articles to refer to in your article or call an attorney or business professional who may have experience with this type of issue. Write a brief one-paragraph summary of this case or article:
I found a case very similar to this. A man named Donald had a father who owned a family farm. Donald had four other siblings that tended to and maintained this farm as well. The father was diagnosed with cancer and couldn’t be put on welfare because of all the land he owned. He then transferred the title of the land to Donald as a trustee of the land. When the father passed away Donald tried to keep the land for himself and was taken to court by his siblings. The court imposed constructive trust, saying that Donald had been unjustly enriched.
-Ponder and reflect to compare this case to recent news and cases. This is the really cool part. You will be thinking like a legally astute manager, owner, or professional as you read, analyze and compare cases to draw your conclusions. Some neat ideas to help with your analysis: If the outcomes of the recent cases you found are different, can you make sense of the different outcomes? Are there different legal standards that make for different outcomes? Is there a trend leaning more in favor of a plaintiff or defendant’s position? Are the outcomes the same or different simply because the facts are similar or dissimilar? What accounts for the same or different results? Write your thoughts here:
The outcomes are quite similar in this case because both prevailers in these cases were given constructive trusts in the fact the land was transferred either in a wrongful situation or unjustly enriched someone. I believe that every court case depends on the details for the most part, but there seems to be a bit of a trend when it comes to ownership of property. If it is done the wrong way, the court will impose constructive trusts on it.
D. Creative, Application and Critical Thinking Questions
7. Your point of view of the case in the book:
a. Do you agree or disagree with the actual outcome? Why or why not? I agree with the ruling in this case. Barbara was never informed that the land was in Milton’s parents name, therefore she believed she owned the land throughout the marriage all the way up to the divorce. The fact that Milton did this in bad faith also supports my opinion.
b. Change it up: Pose the question “What if the facts were different?” Create changes to the facts that would probably result in a different outcome of the case and, using critical thinking and legal reasoning, tell why your change in facts would make a difference.
I believe that if Milton hadn’t kept it a secret that his parents actually owned the land, and if he didn’t do it to defraud a creditor with prior judgement against him, the court may have granted all of the land to Milton and his parents. Milton also could have had Barbara sign a contract at the time of purchase stating that in the case of a divorce, the land still belongs to Milton and his parents.
c. Relate the case to your own experience, if applicable, or to the experience someone else has shared with you.NA
d. How will you apply the lessons from this case to your future career? I have learned by reading this case not to ever transfer title to cause unjust enrichment or in bad faith. Im not quite sure how this would affect accounting, but I know now to have contracts written in order to protect my belongings.
e. Write recommendations to avoid future legal problems and that best suit the objectives of a firm or company in your chosen career field.To avoid this type of situation, do not transfer title or put title into someone elses name to defraud anyone or in bad faith in general.
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