Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

HarborView owner files new suit over mold

When Paul C. Clark purchased a penthouse apartment in Baltimore’s HarborView tower in October 2009, he and his wife thought they were getting their dream home.

Instead, Clark said in an interview Thursday and in a lawsuit filed this month, the condominium association’s refusal to address toxic mold and leaks has been a nightmare.

“It has cost me a heck of a lot of money, and I haven’t been able to live there for four years,” Clark said Thursday.

Two weeks after losing an appellate decision on an earlier claim for violations of the Maryland Consumer Protection Act, Clark filed his breach of contract and negligence action in Baltimore City Circuit Court.

This time, Clark, president of a Bethesda-based computer security business, is seeking specific performance of the contract as well as damages of $3.5 million.

Richard J. Magid, an attorney at Whiteford, Taylor & Preston LLP in Baltimore who represents HarborView, said Thursday that HarborView “stands ready, willing and able to make the repairs and to resolve any problems” that arise with the structure of the building.

“The condo is responsible for the structure of the building, the bones of the building,” he said. “To the extent that there are any problems with the structure, it is the responsibility of the condo to fix it.”

Clark, though, said the council is “responsible for maintenance, repair, and replacement of the common elements” in the building.

Clark said the building’s management had “actual and constructive knowledge since at least 2003 of defects in the building’s roof system, exterior façade, and rooftop HVAC ductwork (all common elements), causing water infiltration and mold contamination problems in the building and the unit.”

The council “ignored, concealed or otherwise refused to address the problems,” all of which created “a dead asset … that cannot be occupied, rented or sold,” the lawsuit says.

His complaint also includes claims of breach of fiduciary duty in connection with the penthouse, which he purchased for more than $1.15 million.

Raymond Daniel Burke of Ober|Kaler in Baltimore represents Clark. Burke said Thursday that, because of the damage, Clark has not been able to live in the home since March 2010 and is therefore “entitled to the requested remediation and restitution.”

Burke also represented James W. Ancel, another penthouse owner, in litigation against the condo association. In June 2012, the association was ordered to pay $1.2 million to Ancel to address his claims of mold damage.

But Magid, HarborView’s lawyer, said the two claims involve different units and different problems.

Magid also noted that the Court of Specials Appeals threw out Clark’s claims of fraudulent misrepresentation and unfair or deceptive trade practices under the Maryland Consumer Protection Act stemming from violations of the Maryland Condominium Act.

Clark, however, said Thursday he plans on asking the state’s highest court to review that decision.

KEY DATES

October 2009:

Clark purchases his penthouse unit at 100 Harborview Drive.

Oct. 20, 2010:

Clark filed suit in Baltimore City Circuit Court alleging violations of the Maryland Consumer Protection Act.

Jan. 3, 2012:

Summary judgment is granted in favor of homeowner’s association.

April 18, 2012:

Clark appeals the ruling.

April 24, 2013:

Court of Specials Appeals affirms the lower court’s decision, Clark v. Zalco, No. 277, Sept. Term 2012.

May 8, 2013:

Clark files his most recent lawsuit Clark v. 100 Harborview Drive CUO d/b/a/ 100 Harborview Drive Condominium Association, Baltimore City Circuit Court 24-C-13-002770.