Legal Question in Consumer Law in New Jersey

Roofing-Poor Installation

My husband and I built our home in 1995. We acted as general contractors. We sub-contracted a construction co. to do the framing and roofing (25 yr Timberline roof).The owner of that company has since moved out of state. We recently had a leak after a storm and had a local roofer come and take a look.We thought that the rain which had come down hard had backed up under the shingles and maybe we could have someone re-enforce the channel. When the roofer went onto the roof he found that all the nails were popping up out of the shingles, lifting some and also leaving holes.He took many digital pictures to show us. He said this was proably the result of the original roofer not using the correct power when nailing them on. Needless to say we are looking at a major repair after only 7 years. What recouse do we have since the sub-conractor is no longer in state? We can get his new info as he still has family in town. The roofer he used is still in state but may be retired. Thank you in advance for any direction.

Asked on 10/15/04, 1:38 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Alan Albin Alan S. Albin, Attorney at Law

Re: Roofing-Poor Installation

As this is not a small claims action, you would definitely need to retain an attorney to assist you to take action against your sub-contractor.

If you know his address/location out of state, you can file a lawsuit in your own jurisdiction, then have the roofer served via "long arm jurisdiction". The basis for jurisdiction where the house is located is because that is where the physical work was done and that is where the contract was entered into. This should stand up even though the Defendant may have happened to subsequently move out of state.

Your attorney will get all the facts from you, draft the appropriate lawsuit, file in the civil division, and then refer the summons to a process server. Usually what I do when serving out of state is to simply give the process to one of my local process servers, who usually have the appropriate out of state referral relationships with a process server. For example, if the roofer is now in Kentucky, you file the lawsuit locally, then I would give it to my NJ process server, and they would send it out to a process server in Kentucky to actually be served on the Defendant.

You have several causes of action, for example: breach of contract, negligence, perhaps breach of warranty, perhaps others.

Your contractor may be able to raise a statute of limitations defense due to the passage of seven years, however, you may be able to defeat such a defense. It depends on the specific facts.

I strongly recommend that you consult with an attorney immediately so that you can explore your legal rights, obligations, and options. If you wish to discuss retaining my services, contact me at:

[email protected]


(*Licensed in New Jersey, Maryland, and Dist. of Columbia)

[Disclaimer: The above comments are not intended as nor should they be relied upon as "legal advice", which can only be obtained by personal consultation with a retained attorney; at which time the specific facts and circumstances of your case can be thoroughly evaluated. This reply is provided for general informational and educational purposes only, and does not create an attorney-client relationship with the responding attorney.]

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Answered on 10/16/04, 9:41 am

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