Nationwide Recoveries

Contractor Pays Damages Caused by Negligent Work Performed Nine Years Earlier

Stutman Law obtained a favorable pre-trial settlement of a claim stemming from a sprinkler pipe failure on the fourth floor of an independent living community building. Our office was not retained by the building owner’s insurer until seven months after the loss occurred. Nevertheless, we retained a fire suppression system expert to examine the loss scene, interview witnesses, review photographs and inspect evidence that had been retained shortly after the loss. Our expert concluded that the installer of the sprinkler system had failed to properly seat a plastic sprinkler pipe into a socket, and further failed to apply sufficient solvent cement to create a permanent chemical bond between the pipe and the socket. These failures allowed the pipe and socket to separate unexpectedly, leading to the pipe connection failure and associated flooding. The sprinkler contractor argued that its work did not cause the loss, and the system had been installed correctly, because the loss did not occur until nine years after the installation had been performed. However, Stutman Law presented substantial evidence during the course of litigation demonstrating that the contractor had violated a number of the sprinkler pipe manufacturer’s instructions when assembling the pipe connection. The contractor relented and the claim was settled prior to trial.