Madison - St. Clair Record

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Builder of luxury home owned by asbestos attorney says mold suit is 'frivolous'

By Ann Maher | Jun 3, 2016

The builder of a custom, luxury home currently owned by asbestos attorney Christopher Guinn and his wife, says a lawsuit blaming him for water infiltration is "frivolous."

Kevin M. Kahrig and Customary Construction filed a pro se response to a Madison County suit filed in April by the Guinns. The couple claims their home at 474 Tyler Dr. in Troy is uninhabitable due to mold.

Guinn practices at the Simmons firm in Alton. The Guinns are represented by Jason D. Johnson of HeplerBroom in Edwardsville.

Kahrig claims he built the home in 2012 "as his dream home for him and his family to stay in at least til his son would graduate, but a divorce led to the early sale of the home," he wrote in response on May 4.

The Guinns purchased the home from Kahrig in September 2014 for $775,000.

On May 13, attorney Michael Hobin of the Reed Armstrong firm in Edwardsville entered appearance for Customary Construction.

Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth presides over the case, which has a June 10 docket setting.

Kahrig wrote in his response that prior to closing, the Guinns "performed every inspection possible for a home sale."

"All items were attended to and corrected for the Plaintiffs...The defendant did not issue a warranty to the plaintiffs and the plaintiffs did not purchase a home waranty. It's not uncommon for items on a home to exist after one has resided at a home for some time and is one of the reasons caveat emptor became a well known term," he wrote.

"If the law allowed home buyers to purchase homes, then decide after a year they do not want it and return it like it's a retail store, then the world would be flooded with home buyers and the courts would be flooded with these types of frvolous lawsuits."

Kahrig claims that a mold test that he had conducted showed "negative results."

He further argues that the Guinns wanted him to buy back the home "to cure their financial difficulty and not to attempt to get any issues resolved. The reality of this case is that the plaintiffs could not succeed in the sale of the other two homes they had been trying to sell for quite some time. The plaintiffs' actions were consistent with needing out of the house completely and not consistent with anything other than that."

In their suit, the Guinns say they retained a firm to inspect the house and on Feb. 22, the firm provided them with a report listing numerous defects in construction. The alleged defects included improperly constructed exterior walls and deck, which has caused the water infiltration, leading to damage and the growth of mold.

The suit alleges the current condition of the house is a safety hazard. The plaintiffs claim they have been forced to live in a separate location, and will continue to do so until the defects are fixed.

Kahrig claims that historic rainfalls during the time period when the plaintiffs suspected a leak "would be a more accurate reason why that a leak appeared. No homeowner wants a leak, but unfortunately it does happen at times but does not warrant a fraud claim."

Madison County Circuit Court case number 16-L-443

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Reed, Armstrong Mudge & Morrissey

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