Property Damage Trials

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Making the Case-Property Damage Trials
Selected Illinois Verdicts
$205,000 Verdict (Cook County):  Plaintiffs’ brownstone building in Lincoln Park suffered settlement damage due to excavation being performed at the adjacent property by defendant subcontractor. Plaintiffs claimed the Chicago Excavation Ordinance had been violated due to defendant’s negligent failure to shore-up the excavation.
Defense Verdict (Jo Daviess County):  In February 2008, plaintiff’s insureds discovered that their residence had sustained over $130,000 in damage due to a frozen and burst water pipe. Allegedly, the furnace failed due to defendant HVAC service company’s negligence. Among other things, the defense denied negligence, and argued that the pipe froze for other reasons during a severe cold snap-causing water to short out the furnace.
$10,249 Verdict (Cook County):  Plaintiff’s house was damaged by flooding from defendant golf course during a 3-day storm that produced eleven inches of rain. Plaintiff claimed that defendant’s clogged drainage system caused the flooding. Defense argued the flooding was due to a natural disaster, and was not due to any negligence relating to maintenance of the golf course.  Verdict was $20,497 less 50%.
Defense Verdict (Cook County):  Plaintiffs sustained $407,684 in property damage when a pipe burst due to water freezing in the dry portion of their building’s fire protection system. Plaintiffs faulted defendant’s repair and inspection of the system. Defendant contended it had properly completed all work-and asserted that water was present due to plaintiffs’ negligence.
$382,723 Verdict (Cook County):  A fire occurred within the charcoal grill exhaust system at the Brazzaz Restaurant (539 N. Dearborn, Chicago) and subsequently spread throughout the building’s ductwork, resulting in $325,000 in property damage plus nearly $450,000 in business interruption losses. Allegedly, deft failed to properly clean the restaurant’s exhaust ducts, leading to excessive grease build-up. Defense insisted it had contracted only to clean the ductwork within the four walls of the restaurant-and contended that the fire originated more than 200 feet beyond the restaurant’s boundary walls. The jury’s award represents 50% of the plaintiffs’ claimed damages.
Defense Verdict (USDC N. Dist. IL W. Division):  One month after defendants made repairs to the organ at St. John’s Evangelical Church (Sycamore) a massive fire completely destroyed the historic church ($4 million damage). Defendants asserted there was no proof that the fire was caused by any repair work they had performed.
Defense Verdict (Cook County): Insured developed and managed a certified “green” office building with systems to maximize energy efficiency. On September 18, 2008 a coupling in the building’s chemical treatment system failed, causing a fluid leak and $441,285 in repair costs. Defendant HVAC systems contractor argued it had discharged all duties it owed to any entity more than 3 years prior to the system failure.