Tampa, FL – The late Yogi Berra once famously said, “When you see a fork in the road, take it.” Taylor Morrison Services, Inc. (“Taylor Morrison”) has apparently taken Mr. Berra’s advice and demanded arbitration against itself. As a bit of background, Ramon Vargas and Solange Matos purchased a home from Taylor Morrison several years ago in Ruskin, FL. Within the last few years, the stucco on the home has begun to crack, become warped and has progressively gotten so severe that the stucco is at risk of completely falling off the home. Earlier this year, Joshua Zudar of the firm Burnett Wilson Reeder filed suit on Mr. Vargas’ and Ms. Matos’ behalf in Hillsborough County Circuit Court against Taylor Morrison alleging that the builder violated the Florida Building Code when constructing their home.
A circuit court judge ruled that a clause in the plaintiffs’ 10-year structural warranty required arbitration of the matter. Mr. Vargas and Ms. Matos were in the process of appealing that ruling to the Second District Court of Appeal when Taylor Morrison decided to take matters into its own hands and demand arbitration against itself. Using the Complaint filed by Mr. Vargas and Ms. Matos in the lawsuit, Taylor Morrison paid the arbitration filing fee and alleged that it had violated the Florida Building Code and breached the underlying sales contract. Incredibly, a few days later, Taylor Morrison responded to its own demand for arbitration and denied all claims. All the while, Mr. Vargas and Ms. Matos have watched from the sidelines as Taylor Morrison has sparred with itself.
In its answering statement, Taylor Morrison criticized itself for failing to specify the provisions of the Florida Building Code that it had violated. Taylor Morrison also argued that the breach of contract action that it had alleged against itself was without merit because the underlying contract did not require the home to be built to code. The builder has yet to file a reply, but based on its track record to date, it would not be surprising to see Taylor Morrison take issue with its own defenses.
Will Taylor Morrison prevail or will it be defeated in the pending arbitration? That answer is clear: Yes. In the meantime, Mr. Vargas and Ms. Matos will continue with their appeal in the Second District Court of Appeal. Stay tuned to this website or our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/bwrfirm) for updates on this Goliath v. Goliath story.