Idaho Court Rules in Hanks’ Favor

Sends long-running construction dispute back to arbitration.

Last Updated: October 1, 2009 @ 5:29 PM

The Idaho Supreme Court says Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson can take the contractor of their Sun Valley home back to arbitration over claims of shoddy workmanship.

Wednesday’s unanimous high court ruling was the latest step in a nine-year battle between the couple and Storey Construction, the company they hired to build their sprawling villa in 2000.

Hanks and Wilson said they’d discovered defects in the construction that weren’t immediately obvious and asked for arbitration of their claims. Storey Construction said that since they had already gone to arbitration once, any additional claims were barred. A lower court agreed.

But the Idaho Supreme Court reversed that ruling, agreeing with Hanks and Wilson that the contract between the parties didn’t prohibit additional arbitration over newly discovered defects.

Miles Stanislaw, the attorney for Storey Construction, said his client was considering its legal options, including "ways to bring additional statutory and contractual issues to the court’s attention."

Hanks and Wilson issued the following statement: 

"We are very grateful to the Idaho Supreme Court for its careful and thoughtful consideration of our appeal. We believe the Supreme Court’s decision will have an impact far beyond our case, helping homeowners who have been wronged in ways that remain hidden long after their home has been built.

"Like anyone else in the same position, we simply wanted Storey Construction to reimburse us for what we have spent fixing shoddy and defective construction. Instead, they tried to hide behind an earlier dispute that had nothing to do with the hidden defects which made our home unsafe.

"We hope that our victory will help others in similar situations avoid the expense and anguish we have endured simply trying to get Storey Construction to fulfill their responsibilities."