public domain condemnation
SUCCESS STORY

Cracked Concrete and Damaged Sheetrock

SFE Attorney: Cliff Wilson

City, Co., State: Yakima County Superior Court Washington

Claims Alleged: Strict Liability: Property Damage

Amount Claimed: $50,000

The Overview

Smith Freed Eberhard partner Cliff Wilson was hired by an insurer to pursue a subrogation action against an owner and a residential developer. By successfully arguing a strict liability theory, Cliff obtained the full requested award at arbitration.

The Background

The insurer was seeking $50,000 in property damage to its insured’s property caused by construction related pile-driving activity that the defendants performed on an adjacent parcel of land. Specifically, the insurer sought recovery for payments made to its insured under the insured’s homeowner’s policy to repair damaged sheetrock inside the insured’s home and replace cracked concrete flatwork outside the insured’s home.

The Strategy

The defendants challenged the causal relationship between their actions and the property damage. Additionally, they challenged the amount and reasonableness of the damages. At arbitration, Cliff successfully argued that the defendants were strictly liable for the damage caused by the pile driving activity, that the damages alleged were causally related to the activity, and that the appropriate measure of damages was the cost to repair or replace the sheetrock and concrete flatwork, rather than the diminished value of the property as a whole, which the defendants argued. 

The Outcome

The arbitrator found in favor of Cliff’s client and awarded the full prayer of $50,000. Cliff, yet again, had secured an optimal result for his client.

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