Kuepers Architects and Builders will have to pay $2.1 million for a faulty project, a Crow Wing County jury agreed last week.
Officials from the Brainerd construction firm declined to comment, but said they would appeal the court ruling.
The verdict stems from a construction project Kuepers built between 1998-2001 for the Interlachen Propertyowners Association, a group of property owners who live mostly in the Twin Cities area.
The project was a 24-unit town home complex on the shores of Gull Lake in Nisswa.
It was in 2010 that the Interlachen Propertyowners Association discovered “construction defects,” said the association’s lawyer Jason Tarasek, with Hammargren and Meyer in Bloomington.
“(Kuepers) had not told us about (the defects),” Tarasek said.
Those defects were in the half-log siding, Tarasek said, which wasn’t installed properly and allowed outside water inside and started rotting the wood.
“There were some pretty extensive problems there,” he said. “Kuepers refused to fix it because they said we were beyond the warranty period.”
Two claims were heard in court last week. The first was a statutory claim on the original construction defects, which the Interlachen Propertyowners Association was awarded most of the funds asked for, Tarasek said.
The second was a negligent repair claim, which the jury ruled the Interlachen Propertyowners Association was 30 percent at fault because they didn’t maintain the building as well as they could have.
Tarasek said the association disagrees.
“We don’t think any amount of maintenance would have saved these buildings,” he said.
Interlachen Propertyowners Association will most likely appeal the court decision as well, citing a judge’s earlier decision to dismiss a few more claims, such as a breach of contract, negligence and design negligence.