landfill dump site for land development

SC Homes Built on a Landfill | Construction Defect Case

In November 2021, Ben Traywick and Ali Williams led a week-long trial in a negligent land development. It was a breach of contract case against DR Horton, Inc., in Beaufort, South Carolina. The new happy homeowners did not expect to face a construction defect case like this.

Our Charleston law firm of construction defect attorneys were retained by fifteen homeowners. The homeowners who, shortly after moving into their new DR Horton homes, began to find evidence of issues. They found out the neighborhood had been built atop an open dumping site. This is the same thing as a landfill. However, the landfill has the legally required license to operate.

Construction Defect Case: Home Defects Living on a Landfill

Rusty sheet metal, broken glass, discarded construction debris, and other solid waste emerged from the ground in their yards, with more waste revealed each time it rained.

The construction damage for these happy new homeowners was disheartening.

Through our investigation, we developed evidence. It indicated that for decades—going back as far as the 1950’s—the 27-acre wooded area that DR Horton purchased, on Lady’s Island in Beaufort, had been used by local businesses and individuals as a dump. On behalf of our clients, we alleged that DR Horton, instead of properly remediating the site during the land development process. They had simply piled fill dirt atop the solid waste, built the houses, and sold them to the unsuspecting public.

In depositions before trial, several witnesses testified. They stated for a developer or builder to do so would be not just improper: it would be illegal.

SC Homeowner Wins for Damages in Home Defect

happy homeowners excited inside their house

Although the case includes fifteen households, the Court instructed us to select one household’s case. One case to take to trial, as a “test case” for the broader group, which we did.

Nevertheless, the family we selected, a former Marine at the Air Station and his wife and two small children, had tried in vain for over a year to persuade DR Horton to fix their yard so that their family could enjoy it fully. But DR Horton never took the matter seriously.

Undoubtedly, Ben Traywick Law Firm was extremely pleased. Upon hearing the verdict, that the jury did take the matter seriously. They awarded our clients $140,000 for a proper remediation of their yard (we had requested $150,000). The defense put up an engineer it had hired as an expert witness to testify that as little as $2,500 was required: “two guys and a wheelbarrow”, this engineer said, despite that that approach had already failed…repeatedly.

Thus, despite strong evidence showing that the approximately two feet of fill dirt that had been placed atop our clients’ lot had to be removed before one could even ascertain the type and extent of landfill material on the lot. 

BTL is extremely grateful that the jury saw that our clients were good people, who asked only for what they thought they were getting—and should have gotten—in the first place: a nice family home, with a big yard, where kids could play without fear of harm.

Experiencing Construction Defects? Ben Traywick Law Firm Can Help Your SC Home Damage Claim Too

Defective land development can manifest in many ways: poor drainage and flooding; excessively sloped sidewalks and damaged foundations; erosion of creek and pond banks; sinkholes; septic tank malfunction; seawall and dock failures; and, yes, a house built atop an open dumping site.

Our knowledgeable and experienced construction defect and negligent land development lawyers are ready to discuss your situation- call any time.

No need to deal with the stress of construction defects alone, our construction defect lawyers can advocate for you. You do not need to feel intimidated facing off with these big businesses, from small subcontractors to major property management companies, our Charleston law firm can protect you.

Indeed, we can review your claim and verify SC law protects you in cases of construction contracts, builder negligence, structural damage, water damage, or other house damage and house defects where you as a homeowner have the right to sue. Our skilled construction defect attorneys can provide skilled legal advice and legal representation for your construction defect claim.

Nonetheless, based in Charleston, we are ready to represent your lawsuit within the Charleston area or throughout the state of South Carolina.

So contact us now, you can also take our construction defect survey today, it’s easy!