Derek J. Spada Receives Six-Figure Verdict for Property Damage at a Church

Church Property Damage

Derek J. Spada received a favorable verdict in January from a bench trial in Ulster County. His client was a local church. The rectory was severely damaged when a water main going into an apartment complex across the street broke. The pipe leaked underground for 4 days before being discovered and turned off. The water that flowed through the pipe was substantial because it carried water to 59 apartments.

For the first 3 days there was no water at all in the rectory and it remained dry. However, the water kept spreading underground as it continued to leak from the broken pipe.

On the fourth day, the rectory basement experienced a pressurized flood that came in from all sides of the house. All 4 foundation walls cracked and bowed inward. The damage was catastrophic and caused damage to the foundation, slab, structural support, electrical system and plumbing fixtures.

The issue with this case was whether the apartment complex was liable or not. Previous laws and courts have upheld for years that an underground water pipe does not ordinarily break unless there is negligence. Therefore, Derek argued that there must have been some kind of negligence on the apartment complex, and the pipe was either improperly installed or someone drove it over it because it was in the lawn. Derek also argued that the broken pipe should have been discovered earlier because the leak would have affected the water pressure in the apartment complex.

Derek used case law to prove that the apartment complex was liable, and the damage caused to the rectory was due to their negligence. An Ulster County judge agreed and awarded our client a six-figure settlement for the damages.

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