Morrison Mahoney Partner Ralph Sullivan recently obtained a defense verdict at the conclusion of a week-long jury trial before Judge Casper at the USDC in Boston. The plaintiff, a large subrogated insurer, sought to recover $6.2 million which it paid for water damage which was caused by a frozen sprinkler pipe which burst at a mansion in the Back Bay section of Boston. The pipe freeze was caused by a co-defendant roofing company, which failed to cover an opening which was made by one of its employees when he removed crown molding from a third floor window, about six weeks before a winter cold snap.
Following two years of litigation, the roofing company impleaded our client, the fiancé of a handyman/caretaker who was employed by the home owner. Our client had purchased WC and CGL insurance policies, in the name of her d/b/a home remodeling company, a month before the loss happened in January 2014. Shortly before trial, the roofing company settled with the plaintiff, for an undisclosed amount, and took their trial experts with them. Over our objection, Judge Casper decided in camera that the amount of the settlement was in good faith. The plaintiff made a final settlement demand of $500,000 to our client’s insurer.
The plaintiff was represented at trial by four attorneys, including two from a Philadelphia firm which specializes in subrogated claims. The jury determined that the handyman/carpenter was not acting as an agent or employee of our client when he allegedly failed to cover the hole which had been left open by the roofer.