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Builder reaches $22.5 million settlement with 18 defendants in Palm Beach Gardens' lawsuit

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Posted at 10:02 AM, Sep 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-30 04:51:37-04

Michelle Marks has been living at San Matera for six years.

"I enjoy the community, nice people live here," she says.

The living at San Matera hasn't always been easy, however.

She says shoddy construction has left her frustrated, with leaks leaving her building - and others - rotting.

"Multiple, multiple issues," she says.

The homeowners association took the builder, Kolter Homes, to task.

The lawsuit and the case took six years to even get off the ground.

It  was set to be so massive, the two sides were preparing to modify a courtroom just to accomodate the dozens of attorneys that would be involved.

Before jurors heard the first word of testimony, the two sides came to an agreement.

"We have reached a settlement with all 18 defendants and their 40 insurance carriers for $22.5 million," says David Haber, one of the attorneys for the homeowners.

The settlement avoids a trial that would have taken weeks.

An attorney for Kolter in court Thursday says, "Without admitting liability, we have resolved this matter with the association amicably and on an agreed basis."

After the settlement, those attorneys declined to comment on camera, but the homeowners association president was happy.

"We will begin to heal - the physical part of the building, the community," says Jackie Durham, the homeowners association president. "We can move forward now."

The settlement doesn't mean the problems are instantly fixed - as repairs will likely take years.

Michele is breathing easier tonight, knowing help is on the way.

"I was possibly going to move, because I was afraid of all this damage and what it was going to cost me to have fixed, but I feel relieved."

The homeowners association says the repair project will be massive.

There are 30 buildings on the property - and they say all of them have damage.

They'll have to be completely skinned and all windows and sliding glass doors will be taken out.

There's no time table on when that project will start.

EARLIER STORY

A settlement was reached Thursday in a multi-million dollar lawsuit against a company after multiple claims of poor construction at a Palm Beach Gardens complex.  

Residents living in the San Matera Condominium in Palm Beach Gardens sued its builder Kolter Homes six years ago.

The settlement includes $22.5 million to the 18 defendants with the money coming from 40 insurance companies.

The association of the complex claimed Kolter took short cuts, which caused leaky roofs and sliding glass doors.

"There are in many cases reputable companies and reputable developers, reputable contractors. In other cases, Kolter may have built wonderful projects, but this wasn't one of them, and they didn't want to own up to that," attorney David Haber.

Representatives of Kolter did not offer comment as they left the courtroom. The company never claimed responsibility in the case.

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