Judge considers new trial in building dispute

PERRY — It will be about a week before a judge decides whether a home builder involved in a dispute about a Bonaire home will get a new trial.

Houston County Superior Court Chief Judge George F. Nunn heard arguments Thursday from attorney Mike Long about why his client, Eric Blazi, deserves a new trial. In August, a judgment was issued against Blazi, awarding Gregg Rich, the owner of the home at 114 Glenda Drive, about $437,700.

Rich had sued Blazi and his company, Grey Wolf Homes LLC, accusing them of breach of contract, failure to construct the property and residential improvements at the property in a “fit and workmanlike” manner, negligent construction, fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud.

The lawsuit claimed that Blazi and his company knew that the property was affected by subsurface water, standing water and surface water run-off conditions that affected its development. In addition, the lawsuit claimed the property was not in compliance with local codes and construction requirements.

Blazi then failed to disclose to the Riches the water problems and the fact that the house did not meet code, according to the complaint, and as a result, Rich experienced several water and structural problems.

Blazi, a member of the Warner Robins Planning & Zoning board, denies the accusations and is appealing the judgment. During Thursday’s hearing, Long argued that the jury did not identify the significance of a seller’s disclosure and waiver or pictures presented in trial.

The seller’s disclosure and waiver show that neither Blazi nor Rich were aware of drainage or structural problems at the house at the time of the sale, Long said. The only structural problem noted on the disclosure was cracking of concrete in the garage, he said.

The documents also made no guarantees or warranties, Long said, and without them, Rich “has waived all that.”

In addition, Long said, the plaintiffs presented pictures out of chronological order during the trial, skewing their significance.

Before Rich bought the house, there were no gutters or fence, Long said. Later, Rich installed gutters and spouts that emptied water into the yard. A new fence dammed in the water, Long said.

“He’s caused his own problem right here,” Long said. “I don’t think the jury ever realized that.”

Long also presented Nunn with a picture taken Wednesday that shows there is now an indentation under the fence, letting water escape.

“The jury never identified the significance of these pictures and the date of these pictures and the disclosure,” he said.

Rich’s attorney, Amy Griffith Dever, said Long presented no evidence that the jury did not already consider.

“I haven’t heard anything this morning that we haven’t heard over and over again,” Dever said. “He hasn’t offered the court anything that he hasn’t had enormous amount of opportunity to argue before the court and jury. ... This is a waste of time.”

Nunn said he would take about a week to decide whether the trial contained any errors that would warrant a new trial. However, he said he was “somewhat dubious” about considering recent photographs not presented during trial.

“I’ll just have to take a look at it and see if there was something wrong with the presentation of the evidence,” Nunn said.

To contact writer Jennifer Burk, call 256-9705.