Wyle v. LeesAnnotate this Case
Defendants Scott and Christina Lees appealed a trial court decision that found in favor of Plaintiff Stephen Wyle on his claim of negligent misrepresentation. In 2002, Defendants purchased a two-unit apartment building. Defendants wished to expand the building, and approached a contractor to add a third apartment to the back of the property. Conditional approval for the site plan was granted in November 2003 and final approval was obtained in January 2004. However, Defendants did not obtain the proper permits prior to building or occupying the unit. As a result, the town's building inspector never inspected the unit. The Lees again hired the contractor both to complete a second addition to the property. Defendants again failed to secure the necessary building permits. After the completion of construction, town officials visited the property a number of times in 2006 and 2007. The town informed Defendants that "[s]ave for acceptable field changes[,] the site plan requirements have been satisfied." Defendants listed the property for sale in 2007. After entering into the agreement, Plaintiff had a comprehensive home inspection performed and sent a list of specific concerns regarding the property to Defendants. The concerns were either remedied by the Defendants or waived by Plaintiff prior to closing. Approximately six weeks after closing, the entire property was inspected by the town building inspector and fire chief which revealed numerous building and life safety code violations. Plaintiff was ordered not to occupy the unit until he corrected the violations and made the site compliant with site plan regulations. After correcting the violations, Plaintiff then brought a single claim against Defendants for negligent misrepresentation. Following a two-day bench trial, the trial court issued an order awarding damages to the Plaintiff. Upon review of the trial court record, the Supreme Court found that the evidence at trial established that Defendants negligently misrepresented that the premises were licensed for immediate occupancy and that they had obtained all the necessary permits. Accordingly, the Court found that the trial record supported the decision in favor of Plaintiff, and the grant of damages.