Verdicts & Settlements


In an Appellate Division decision, the appeals Court upheld a Consumer Fraud judgment in favor of our clients entered by the Law Division-Burlington County. A Limited Liability company that builds new homes, and some of its owner-members and employees were ordered to pay treble damages and counsel fees in excess of $220,000.00.

The houses were originally designed with the garage doors on the side of the house, with the garage bays being 22’ deep and 20’ wide. Due to the economy, sales were lagging and the builder decided to offer an incentive of a $5,000.00 price reduction by moving the garage doors to the front of the house. This configuration would require less driveway blacktop, curbing and front siding aesthetics. The builder, however, did not change the dimensions of the garage bays, so that now they were only 20’ deep but were 22’ wide. There were 3’ wide steps leading from the house down into the garage, such that the actual useable depth was only 17’ in the left bay.

The first person that selected the option closed title and when she attempted to park her mid-size vehicle in the garage, it would not fit. Rather than correcting the problem or notifying future buyers of the issue, the builder continued selling the front entry garage houses without disclosing the problem. At trial the builder blamed the three purchasers of that design, asserting that they had seen and initialed the ”blue prints.” All three purchasers could not park their cars in the left bays.

The Court awarded our clients the cost of modifying the depth of the garage, treble damages and counsel fees to Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman.