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Accord Manufacturing v. Design 2 Construct and Graff Masonry



Injuries claimed: $1 million in cost of repair, lost profits

Court: Washington County

Case name: Accord Manufacturing v. Design 2 Construct and Graff Masonry

Case number: 04 CV 10

Judge: Andrew Gonring

Verdict & settlement: Jury returned a verdict in favor of defendant.

Original amount sought: $1 million

Original offer: $275,000

Award: Zero dollars. No breach of contract found by jury.

Special damages: $1 million dollars in cost of removing equipment, downtime, and replacement of factory floor

Date of incident: 1999-2000

Disposition date: Jan 14, 2009

Original filing date: Jan 5, 2004

Plaintiffs attorney (firm): Michael T. Hopkins, IP Special Counsel

Defendants attorney (firm): Wayne Seisennop of Seisennop & Sullivan and Greg Cook of Greg Cook Law Offices, S.C.

Insurance carrier: Acuity and CNA

Plaintiffs expert witnesses: Louie Baddredine

Defendants expert witnesses: Thomas Whittow and Terrence Patrick

Defense counsel’s summary of the facts: Accord contracted to build a new manufacturing facility in Jackson, Wiscon-sin with D2 Consruct as the general contractor. Graff was the masonry subcontractor. Building was standard steel shell structure with room for punch presses and machining equipment. Plans called for six inch floor, on sub-base of crushed stone. Concrete was poured in bad weather conditions and crushed concrete was substituted for the base with the permission of the general contractor. While all concrete cracks, an inordinate number of cracks occurred here, some due to lack of sealing which the plaintiff had agreed to do. Circle curing cracks, and linear cracks began appearing and getting longer in the drive aisles for the forklifts. All cracks were not structurally significant but owner complained of cosmetic issue and wanted a new floor. Defendants offered to repair or cut out bad sections. Accord refused. Experts opined on whether the change in the sub-base had any effect on the floor’s performance, whether the floor was poured at a uniform depth, whether saw cuts were made properly, and whether the concrete was too hard, causing it to cure too quickly. Plaintiff claimed it could not afford to fix but defense showed plaintiff had invested millions of dollars in related business of yacht restoration during relevant time frame and could have afforded to repair or replace. In closing, Atty Siesennop said [with a straight face], “this case is not really what it is cracked up to be.” There were a few sly smiles from the jury.

Pre-trial motions: Insurance coverage denied for Graff, appealed and affirmed so Graff proceeded with no indemnity.

Length of trial: Eight days

Jury or bench: Jury

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