High Court Rules in Favor of CO Land Developers

On April 17, 2017, the Colorado Supreme Court issued an opinion with lasting importance for developers, builders, contractors, designers and homeowners in Colorado. The decision in Rogers v. Forest City Stapleton, Inc. clarifies standards applicable to future construction defect litigation in Colorado — and parties involved in the development, sale and purchase of raw land in Colorado should be aware of the decision and the limits it establishes. The opinion addresses the issue of whether developers who improve and sell raw land make implied warranties to homeowners and other subsequent purchasers of the land — even if those purchasers never had any contractual relationship with the developer. The case involved a dispute between a homeowner in the Stapleton neighborhood and the master developer of the Stapleton community, Forest City. After groundwater and calcite began to leach into the homeowner’s sump drain, he sued Forest
City. The homeowner argued that by allowing the homebuilder to construct a basement on a “finished lot,” Forest City made an implied warranty that the lot was suitable for a home with a basement.

To read this story and other complete articles featured in the May 1, 2017 print edition of Law Week Colorado, copies are available for purchase online.