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Frickel v. Sunnyside Enterprises, Inc.

Supreme Court of Washington
725 P.2d 422 (1986)


Facts

The Frickels (plaintiffs) approached Sunnyside Enterprises, Inc. (defendant) about purchasing an apartment building that Sunnyside had constructed. The Frickels wanted to buy the property to provide income during their retirement. Sunnyside was a professional developer who always built their properties for themselves to own and manage rather than for sale. Nevertheless the Frickels, with the advice of counsel, was able to execute an agreement of sale for the building. The contract stipulated that the Frickels fully inspected the property and that neither Sunnyside nor its successors or assigns could be held to any covenant respecting the condition of the building. A few years after the sale, the Frickels discovered that the building foundations were inadequate and improperly designed for the soil on which it was built, even though Sunnyside built it to the exact specifications demanded by the city. The defective construction would cost $330,000 to repair; otherwise the foundation would fail in eight or nine years. The Frickels sued for a breach of the implied warranty of habitability. The trial court determined that the structural defects were not reasonably discoverable through investigation even by an expert contractor. The court thus found that there was an implied warranty of habitability and that Sunnyside breached it. Sunnyside appealed, and the appellate court referred the case to the Supreme Court of Washington.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Brachtenbach, J.)

Dissent (Pearson, C.J.)

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