Stanley D. Bynum is of counsel with the Birmingham, Ala. office of the law firm of Bradley, Arant, Rose & White. He has been a frequent author and lecturer on various construction-related topics, including arbitration law.
Walter J. Sears Ill, is a partner with the Birmingham, Ala. office of the firm of Bradley, Arant, Rose & White. His primary areas of practice are construction and litigation. He has substantial experience representing contractors, owners, msubcontractors and suppliers both in court and in arbitration.
James F. Archibald Ill is an associate with the same firm. His primary areas of practice are commercial and construction litigation.
On May 10, 1991, Michael and Wanda Dobson purchased a home in Fairhope, Alabama. Three days before the closing, the house was inspected for termites and, to the Dobson's relief, none were found. At the closing, Steven and Jan Gwin, the sellers, assigned a termite bond to the Dobsons. Armed with the inspection report and the termite bond, the Dobsons likely assumed that they would not encounter any termite problems in their new house. They were wrong.
Below the surface lurked a major problem for the Dobsons. Shortly after the closing, they discovered-while doing minor repair work on wall paneling-that the house was completely infested with termites. In addition, they discovered evidence which they believed indicated that the inspector, a franchisee of Terminix International Companies (Terminix), may have concealed his knowledge of this termite infestation prior to the sale. Not surprisingly, the Dobsons filed suit in their local Alabama circuit court against Terminix, the local Terminix franchise, and the Gwins, claiming breach of contract, fraud and negligence.