Aug 9 2017

Courtroom Success 2017-24: Morrison Mahoney Partners William Staar & Ralph Suozzo

Morrison Mahoney Partners William Staar and Ralph Suozzo (recently retired) obtained summary judgment in a $4,000,000 property-damage case in Massachusetts Superior Court, for a subsidiary of Anderson Windows.

The plaintiff homeowners, who experienced widespread water damage and mold in their brand-new and expansive residence, brought suit against more than a half-dozen contractors and manufacturers, including our client, a major international window manufacturer. Supported by the report and two affidavits of a liability expert, the plaintiffs alleged that some portion of the more than fifty windows manufactured by our client and installed by others in the plaintiff's house allowed water to enter the building in multiple places.

The Court dismissed the single count against our client—alleging breach of the warranty of merchantability—for the following reasons:

(1) Although the plaintiffs’ expert saw water enter through some windows, his water-testing methods far exceeded the design limits of the windows and principally were intended to find the “pathway” for water entry into the home, not determine the merchantability of the windows;

(2) Our client was not legally responsible for the window-installation errors of others. It made available both to the homeowners and their installers installation instructions (not followed by the installers) and, during the course of its product inspections, had no duty to tell the plaintiffs that others had installed the windows incorrectly; and

(3) the plaintiffs’ expert effectively admitted the absence of any product defects by recommending to the plaintiffs that the plaintiffs remove and properly reinstall all 50+ windows, which the plaintiffs did.

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