NEWS

Big Win For Taveuni Couple

One of the orders: Pacific Building Solutions shall pay Mr and Mrs Seidman special damages in a sum of $1,032,450.05 together with interest at three per cent from date of service of writ (April 5, 2017) to date of hearing (February 18, 2019).
25 Feb 2021 08:54
Big Win For Taveuni Couple
Julie Seidman (left) and husband Dr Richard Irving Seidman, with their lawyer, Mary Muir.

A Taveuni couple who sued Pacific Building Solutions Limited for failing to construct a safe and structurally sound home were awarded more than $1,032,450.05 by the Civil High Court.

Dr Richard Irving Seidman and Julie Seidman, a retired couple from Los Angeles, United States, moved to Fiji in the 1990s and have lived in Taveuni since 2014.

The couple, who run Taveuni Animal Lovers, employed the services of Pacific Building Solutions to construct a home in Soqulu at a cost of $1,032,450.05.

Pacific Building Solutions agreed to provide the design and engineering plans, supply building material and construct the structure and driveway.

However, it was found that the home had several building defects.

Pacific Building Solutions proposed remediation plans and to complete a container cottage for the Seidmans to reside in during the remediation works, within a reasonable time.

Arguments

The couple stated that the company‘s actions, negligence and omissions constituted a fundamental breach of contract.

They further stated that Pacific Building Solutions breached its duty of care to construct a safe structurally sound residence and was negligent in failing to provide a proper foundation and secure it against the possible ingress of water.

The ceiling cladding in the laundry room was waterlogged. It collapsed and injured Ms Seidman when Tropical Cyclone Winston hit Taveuni. The residence lacked proper cyclone resistance.

In its argument the company stated that certain repairs were affected for minor defects, even though it was outside the defects period, after the Certificate of Completion had been issued.

The company also stated that the Seidmans did not permit them to complete the remediation plan and consistently requested further work than what was required to rectify the perceived and actual problems.

However, it was found Taveuni Rural Local Authority, (TRLA) did not inspect the residence at the various stages of construction. The authority would not have been aware of the structural defects at the time it issued the Certificate of Completion.

Justice Brito Mutunayagam ruled in favour of the the plaintiff.

In his judgment, he issued the following orders:

n Pacific Building Solutions shall pay Mr and Mrs Seidman general damages in a sum of $10,000 together with interest at six per cent from the date of service of writ,(April 5, 2017) to the date of hearing (February 18, 2019).

n Pacific Building Solutions shall pay Mr and Mrs Seidman special damages in the sum of $1,032,450.05 together with interest at three per cent from the date of service of writ (April 5, 2017) to date of hearing (February 18, 2019).

n Pacific Building Solutions shall pay Mrs Seidman general damages in a sum of $3000 together with interest at six per cent from the date of service of writ (April 5, 2017) to the date of hearing (February 18, 2019).

n Pacific Building Solutions shall pay Mr and Mrs Seidman costs summarily assessed to the sum of $12,000.

Dr Seidman, a retired cardiologist said: “We are very happy and satisfied that justice has been finally served.”

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

Feedback: ashna.kumar@fijisun.com.fj



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