Unanimous Defense Verdict in Bucks County Property Litigation Case
Obtained a unanimous jury verdict after a four-week trial in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The plaintiffs' demand never moved from $9 million throughout the trial. The plaintiff family (mother, father and adult daughter) claimed that their house was contaminated by a common disinfectant solution with the same active chemical composition as Chloraseptic throat spray. The product was applied during a water mitigation by a contractor referred by their homeowners' insurance company. The family claimed a myriad of injuries, including "chemical sensitization" with symptoms ranging from heart palpitations, to bleeding gums, to bowel incontinence. The family abandoned their home and claimed it needed to be torn down, the foundation ripped out of the ground, and all of the personal property disposed of. The defense team represented the homeowners' insurance carrier in claims for breach of contract, promissory estoppel, bad faith, and violations of the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law. The plaintiffs' theory was that, because the insurance company referred the contractor, the insurance policy was transformed from a policy of insurance to an irrevocable contract of construction, thereby making the insurer liable for any consequential damages resulting from the contractor's work. Legal and evidentiary issues abounded, but ultimately the jury returned a unanimous defense verdict on the breach of contract claim, and the judge entered a verdict in favor of our clients on the bad faith and UTPCPL claims.