SUCCESS STORY

Due Diligence and Maintaining Position Leaves Ashley with a Happy Client

SFE Attorney: Ashley Nagrodski

Claims Alleged: Property Damage

Injuries Alleged: Water Damage and Other Compensation

Admitted Liability: No

Brief Overview

Smith Freed Eberhard partner Thomas McCurdy and then associate (now partner) Ashley Nagrodski achieved a favorable outcome for their client who was not required to pay any portion of a claim against them following damages suffered after a fire caused significant damage to a condominium unit.

The Background

The case involved a spontaneous combustion that began on the balcony of a condo unit. The defendants included the company that purchased the unit and a contractor who was hired to remodel and restore it. During the remodel phase, a fire started on the balcony where the company hired to remodel and restore was storing paints, solvents, and rags. The fire triggered fire suppression systems, which caused water damage to multiple other units throughout the building. After the incident, a building resident (the plaintiff) sued both defendants to recover compensation for the water damage caused to her unit. The plaintiff also sought damages to cover her storage fees and alternate living arrangements for the time her unit was under repair.

The Strategy

Thomas and Ashley represented the defendant who purchased the unit. After careful review and detailed conferral, Ashley denied liability on behalf of her client and filed a cross-claim against the company hired to remodel and restore. Not surprisingly, that defendant denied liability and early settlement claims were unsuccessful. Ashley saved on costs by relying on an expert retained prior to litigation. The expert determined that the fire started by spontaneous combustion of the staining materials being stored on the balcony. With that conclusion, Ashley reaffirmed her position that her client was not responsible and that all liability rested on the company hired to remodel and restore.

The Outcome

Ashley prepared extensively for arbitration, but ultimately the other defendant settled just minutes before arbitration was to begin. The company hired to restore and remodel the unit accepted full responsibility and paid the entire claim to the plaintiff. Ashley’s client was not required to pay any portion of the claim.

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