Division Two of the Arizona Court of Appeals recently held that a homeowner may not sue a subcontractor for breach of the implied warranty of workmanship and habitability. See, Yanni v. Tucker Plumbing Inc, 233 Ariz. 364, 312 P.2d 1130 (App. 2013).  Of course, the homeowners may sue the contractor with whom they have a contract, but without such privity (a direct contractual relationship), there is no cause of action against the subcontractor.

In this case, one homeowner and a class of similarly situated homeowners sued two plumbing subcontractors, alleging that the plumbers had violated the implied warranty of workmanship and habitability by using defective plumbing components in constructing their new homes.  The subcontractors argued that they had no contracts with the homeowners so there was no privity to allow this type of claim.  The Court agreed, and declined to extend an exception to the privity to allow direct suit against subcontractors.

The Court noted that the homeowner, while unable to sue the subcontractor, still may sue the “developer, general contractor, or vendor, who may then seek indemnity from other responsible parties or assign its claim to the plaintiff.”   This recent decision reaffirms the established, traditional path of construction litigation.

Written 2/11/14

Approved by MDC 03/04/14

Category:  Construction Litigation

Key Words:  homeowner, subcontractor, construction litigation, defective plumbing

Description:  Homeowners with defective plumbing may not sue a subcontractor for breach of implied warranty but they may still sue the developer or general contractor.