Builder Expressly Warranted To Build Pond That Would Hold Water.

The defendants wanted a recreational pond constructed on their property, and hired the plaintiff to build it.  After selecting a site, the pond was built at a cost of over $87,000 which the defendants paid.  Within a year, however, the pond failed to hold water.  A second round of work on the pond resulted in a bill of over $93,000.  The defendants refused to pay this amount and the plaintiff filed a petition to foreclose a mechanic’s lien.  The defendants countered that the plaintiff was negligent in the construction of the pond and failed to perform the construction in a workmanlike manner which caused damages.  The trial court held that the plaintiff had engaged in a second round of work voluntarily and refused to foreclose the lien.  The trial court also rejected the defendants’ claim for damages because the oral agreement between the parties did not involve any express or implied warranties or guarantees.  On appeal, the court reversed on the contract issues.  The court found that the plaintiff had expressly warranted that the pond would hold water even though there was no written contract between the parties because the statement that the plaintiff made that he would “do a pond” expressly meant that the pond would hold water.  The court also determined that the implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose had been breached, and that the plaintiff had failed to construct the pond in a workmanlike manner due to miscalculating the soil conditions of the site selected for the pond.  The court also held that the defendants had not assumed the risk that the pond would not hold water.  However, the court did affirm the trial court’s determination that the mechanic’s lien should not be foreclosed.  Reilly Construction Co., Inc. v. Bachelder, Inc., No. 14-0817, 2015 Iowa App. LEXIS 261 (Iowa Ct. App. Mar. 25, 2015).

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