Richard Korn and Sarah Mangelsdorf recently obtained a defense verdict in favor of their client, a general contractor, after a three day jury trial before Judge Michael Mullen in the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis. In the case, the Plaintiff was the owner of a 197 unit student apartment building near the campus of St. Louis University. In July 2012, the building was significantly damaged by a fire. Richard and Sarah’s client was retained to demolish and reconstruct the portion of the building destroyed by the fire, and rehab/renovate another section of the building damaged by the inundation of the building with water during the fire suppression effort.
Two years later, in May 2015, a building employee opened a valve on the building’s first floor resulting in the failure of a pipe in the ceiling, a large scale flood, and $350,000+ in property damage. In addition to claiming that the plumbing subcontractor installed a defective plumbing system, Plaintiff’s theory was that Richard and Sarah’s client, the general contractor, improperly and negligently concealed the existence of the allegedly defective plumbing by drywalling over it and not creating an access panel in the ceiling so that the existence of this plumbing could be discovered. After deliberating for only 45 minutes, the jury returned a defense verdict.