The Arizona Court of Appeals Division One on April 9, 2015 filed an opinion in Pinnamaneni v. ROC, et al. The issue on appeal caused the court to interpret statutory requirements of a “person injured” when determining eligibility for compensation from the Residential Contractors’ Recovery Fund.
In 2003, Mr. Pinnamaneni began designing a home to be built on property owned by his Revocable Trust. The home was to become the personal residence of him and his family. Mr. Pinnamaneni utilized his limited liability corporation to negotiate all contractual and financial issues with the contractor. The contractor was later found to have performed deficient work and his license was recommended be revoked by an administrative law judge. The contractor then filed for bankruptcy.
Mr. Pinnamaneni, individually and as trustee of his revocable trust for which he was the trustor, trustee and a beneficiary, and his limited liability corporation filed a joint claim with the Fund for damages caused by the faulty construction. The ROC denied their claim because they did not meet the definition of “person injured” as defined by A.R.S. § 32-1131(3) which is defined in part as the owner of residential real property, who occupies or intends to occupy the residence, and who is damaged by a residential contractor’s deficient work.
The court concluded “that an individual who occupies or intends to occupy the residence, and who is the trustor, trustee and beneficiary of a revocable trust that owns the property, meets the statutory owner-occupant requirement of § 32-1131.” The court awarded reasonable attorneys fees and costs. The court reversed the decision of the superior court that affirmed the ROC order and remanded for further proceedings.
Law Offices of E. Cameron Pickett, P.L.L.C. performs legal services for trustors, trustees and beneficiaries throughout Arizona and California and is based in Chandler, Arizona.