FRANK NAPLES et al. v. KEYSTONE BUILDING & DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION et al., SC 18397
Judicial District of Hartford
Contracts; CUTPA; Proof of Damages in Home Construction Dispute; Whether Trial Court Properly Declined to Pierce Corporate Veil. The plaintiffs entered into a contract with Keystone Builders & Development Corporation (Keystone) for the construction of a residence in Glastonbury. After taking possession, the plaintiffs began to notice peeling paint, mold on the trim and moisture in the dwelling. Subsequently, the plaintiffs brought this action, alleging that the defendants improperly installed the siding, the exterior trim and the moisture barrier under the siding. They sought recovery under various legal theories including unjust enrichment, breach of contract and breach of the New Home Warranties Act, General Statutes § 47-116 et seq. They also requested that the corporate veil be pierced to hold Keystone's president, Leonard Bourbeau, individually liable. After trial, the court found in the plaintiffs' favor on their breach of contract and breach of warranty claims, awarding them $59,140.40 to correct the unworkmanlike construction. The amount of damages reflected the estimated costs of painting, the removal of the siding and trim, and the purchase of new materials. The court, however, found that the plaintiffs had not established with a sufficient degree of certainty other claimed damages, including the cost of labor to replace the trim and siding, and disallowed those amounts. In addition, the court declined to pierce the corporate veil as to Bourbeau and rejected the plaintiffs' CUTPA claim. The court later articulated that because the plaintiffs prevailed on their breach of contract and warranty counts, it did not make an award on their claims that Keystone was unjustly enriched and that Bourbeau was negligent. On appeal, the plaintiffs contend that the court required them to prove their other claimed damages under an improperly high standard. Further, they argue that both the instrumentality and the identity tests for piercing the corporate veil were satisfied, that they should have prevailed on their CUTPA claim, that the court improperly failed to find that Keystone was unjustly enriched and that Bourbeau was liable for negligence.