Custom home developer Dalamar Homes' business practices have resulted in a lawsuit that has temporarily cost them the right to sell a disputed home originally valued just under $1 million.
At 2037 Orange Leaf Circle, the new build in Franklin’s October Park community is now valued at well over $900,000. Dalamar Homes LLC. was acting on an alleged threat to sell it to someone other than the original buyers, Michael Caro and his wife Brandi, for at least $1.1 million when Judge James G. Martin III — a 21st Circuit Bredesen appointee — ruled in favor of a temporary restraining order against Dalamar and its representatives, restricting the builder from selling the home.
The Williamson County Chancery Court decision comes after a lien lis pendens, which gives official notice that the property is currently disputed in a pending lawsuit and sustains the court’s jurisdiction over the property while the case is litigated. The Caros’ complaint aims to not only restrict Dalamar from selling the property to anyone else but also demand the builder make them whole for financial damages incurred in the failed sale of the property, which include expenditures for constant trips to and from Tennessee to inspect the property and the sale of their California home.
The Caros are among a wave of Californians to sell their home and move to Tennessee. They sold it trusting the purchase agreement signed with Dalamar. Dalamar co-owner Matthew Martin, a Nolensville resident, allegedly threatened more than once to rescind the contract, finish the home and sell to someone else for up to $200,000 more — an intimidation tactic according to other Dalamar homebuyers in the same and other communities. The Caros differ from most others primarily in that they refused to sign a mandatory addendum to the purchase agreement that inserted a non-disclosure clause.
That addendum and the original purchase agreement have both been admitted into evidence. Also admitted was the proposed Deposit Money Reimbursement and Mutual Release of Contract document whereby Dalamar invited the Caros to sign the cancellation of their own home only two months before the tentative closing date that had already been changed from January 2021 to July.
Cancellation was suggested on the grounds of “irreconcilable differences between Seller and Buyer. Seller cannot deliver home in original timeframe and does not feel Seller will satisfy Buyer’s expectations.”
J. Ross Hutchison, partner at Nashville law firm Smith, Cashion & Orr and a known expert in real estate law, represents the Caros in filing the suit against Dalamar Homes, LLC., squaring off against Brittany M. Bartkowiak of the Franklin-based Robertson Law Group.
Listed defendants include Dalamar Homes LLC., its parent Kinsman Company LLC., Matthew Martin, his father and co-owner of Kinsman Company Kevin Martin and Dalamar sales manager Darryl Carey who operates and negotiates property sales without a real estate license.
“Darryl Carey, by representing himself to have the authority to bind Dalamar, caused confusion or misunderstanding with respect to his authority of a salesperson, representative or agent to negotiate, modify and/or terminate the terms of the Purchase and Sale Agreement,” the suit says.
Text messages, viewable in the gallery above, between Carey and Michael Caro are included in the complaint to confirm Dalamar’s previously reported unwillingness to lend any assurances that signing the addendum would guarantee the Caros a home.
“I’m with Brandi and she is hysterical,” Caro texts Carey. “Am I going to get any assurance that my house won’t be taken if we sign?”
Carey’s entire response: “Nope.”
In person at the builder’s annual Hope House groundbreaking event and separately in a letter sent from Dalamar to Williamson Homepage and signed by all listed defendants to dispute facts reported about the Caros’ dealings with them, Matthew Martin insisted the Caros’ new construction was never designed or intended to be compliant with the American with Disabilities Act to accommodate Michael Caro’s 80-year-old mother.
The filed complaint maintains that ADA-compliance was a planned feature for the bedroom, bathroom, closet, shower and den; the complaint has been amended since its original filing in response to Dalamar’s enumeration of everything wrong with the original, a list that did not dispute the ADA compliance statement.
Relatedly, the finished home currently has none of the ADA-compliant features that the Caros claim Dalamar planned with the exception of zero-threshold grading to ensure there were no steps from the garage to the primary living space. Early disputes about those features while the Caros were still in contract with Dalamar stemmed from there being no evidence that ADA plans were being implemented.
In the aforementioned letter, Martin told Homepage that there was never a July closing date as previously reported. In truth, Dalamar set an initial range of closing dates between January and February 2021 and then changed that date range to one spanning July and August, which is confirmed in the filed complaint.