Judge to decide $14M case for sinking homes at Ironbridge
Homeowners at the Ironbridge golf course subdivision south of Glenwood Springs are waiting to see if a judge will uphold $14 million in awards related to defects in the construction of homes on sinking soils.
A jury recently awarded nearly $7 million to 20 homeowners at the Ironbridge subdivision, determining that the developer of the homes, the Lehman Brothers subsidiary LB Rose Ranch LLC, was responsible for damage. An arbitrator awarded homeowners another $7 million earlier this year in a finding involving the homebuilders, Ironbridge Homes LLC and Hansen Construction.
The homes were built on evaporite, a salt-laden soil that has been linked to sinkholes and subsidence in parts of western Colorado.
The plaintiffs’ attorney, Mari Perczak, said two homes have been condemned and one home has moved about 20 inches.
It’s possible to build on such soils “and it’s also repairable. These homes can be fixed; you just have to correctly engineer the foundations,” she told the Grand Junction Sentinel.
The awarded money would cover past and future repairs, substitute housing, personal property relocation, and other tangible and intangible costs, including the annoyance involved.
Defendants in the arbitration case have challenged the arbitration award. Attorneys for LB Rose Ranch have challenged the jury award and have filed a motion arguing that the award should be reduced because the arbitration award already fully compensates homeowners for their losses.
Ninth Judicial District Judge James Boyd will decide whether to issue judgments upholding the awards.
Evaporite formations are the product of ancient seas, lakes and other salt-laden waters. The soils can sink when water infiltrates and dissolves the salts. Sinking has occurred in Rio Blanco and Montrose counties as well as the Roaring Fork and Eagle River valleys.
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Ivan Jackson joined LIFT-UP as its new executive director in August.