Summary Disposition Granted in Homeowners Case

Summary Disposition Granted in Homeowners Case

Attorneys Joel Ashton and Stanley Okoli recently had a homeowners case dismissed on summary disposition pursuant to MCR 2.116(C)(8) and (10).

This case involved a residential property subrogation claim in which a leak from a water supply line for a toilet resulted in approximately $290,000 in damages. Pre-suit investigation supported that the subject water supply line, as well as other toilets in the home, showed evidence of having been improperly installed by a tool rather than hand tightened. In an attempt to avoid costly discovery, including experts, the Motion was filed during the discovery period.

In this case, the defendant plumber was subcontracted by the codefendant builder to perform various plumbing work at the subject home, including the installation of the subject toilet. Looking to recoup its substantial payment to its insured homeowners, the plaintiff insurer, as subrogee of the homeowners, sued the defendant plumber and codefendant builder on breach of contract and negligence claims. The insurer also sued the manufacturer and distributor of the water supply line on a products liability theory. The codefendant builder also brought a cross claim against the defendant plumber for indemnity.

The Court dismissed the breach of contract claim, agreeing with the defendant’s argument that the leak occurred outside of the 12 month time period established by the limited warranty. The Court also dismissed the negligence claim, agreeing with the defendant’s argument that the plaintiff had failed to identify a duty in tort separate and distinct from the alleged duty in contract.

Joel Ashton is a partner in the Livonia office of Cummings, McClorey, Davis & Acho, PLC where he focuses his practice on insurance defense, including Michigan No-Fault claims (PIP, automobile negligence, uninsured/ underinsured motorist), as well as premises liability and general negligence. His practice also includes the defense of contract and liability claims, contract interpretation issues, subrogation claims involving automobile, fire and casualty, commercial and related coverage. Mr. Ashton maintains an AV Preeminent Rating from Martindale -Hubbell, which is the highest possible rating an attorney can achieve for both ethical standards and legal ability. He may be reached at (734) 261-2400 or jashton@cmda-law.com.

Stanley I. Okoli is an attorney in in the Livonia office of Cummings, McClorey, Davis & Acho, PLC where he focuses his practice on research and writing, as well as litigation. He writes briefs for submission to all levels of state and federal courts, argues cases in both the state and federal courts of appeals, and performs research for all areas of law handled by our Firm. Mr. Okoli has taken over 30 cases to Michigan Court of Appeals and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and has handled 14 jury trials. He may be reached at (734) 261-2400 or sokoli@cmda-law.com.

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