The Road to Hell is Paved With Good Intentions: Brad Pitt and the Make It Right Foundation
Brad Pitt is in the news once again. This time, however, Pitt is seeing headlines in architectural and building materials journals as a result of litigation which has spawned from his Make it Right Foundation’s efforts in the Ninth Ward post Hurricane Katrina.
Make it Right was recently named in class action allegations made by beneficiaries of a sustainable project hyped as a renewal for storm ravaged New Orleans. This project was one of several high profile Katrina related endeavors.
Construction began in 2008, working toward replacing portions of lost housing with 150 avant-garde dwellings. The residences were touted as storm-safe, solar-powered, highly insulated, and “green.” The homes were available at an average price of $150,000 to residents who received resettlement financing, government grants and donations from the foundation itself.
Pitt has publicly spoken about the pride he feels with regard to the project. It can not be suggested that his motivations were anything less than pure.
At the risk of editorializing, I am friends with an individual who was involved with MIR. This person always had the nicest of things to say about Brad Pitt and his efforts. This isn’t a critique of good deeds gone wrong.
On September 7th, two homeowners filed a lawsuit against MIR on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated. The lawsuit cites mold, poor air quality, structural failures, faulty heating, ventilation and cooling, electrical malfunctions, plumbing mishaps and rotting wood among the deficiencies.
MIR has now filed suit against architects who were paid large sums during the design phase of construction based, in part, on sustainable “green” building products specified by those architects.
The cases against MIR and design professionals assisting MIR will likely name additional defendants as legal concepts such as indemnity, warranties of habitability, warranties related to plans and specifications , and product liability will serve to render this a story not fit for TMZ.
Legal practitioners, insurers, construction professionals and design professionals should pay attention as the case is likely to further the age old concept which cautions against the abutting of dissimilar and untested materials in the construction and renovation of residential and commercial structures.