Certainteed Obtains Spoliation Charge on Missing Pipe and Defense Verdict Following Two-and-a-Half Week Trial Circuit Court of the Tenth Judicial Circuit for Highlands County, Florida
On July 7, 2016 a Florida jury rendered a defense verdict on behalf of building products manufacturer Certainteed Corporation (“Certainteed”). In this case, it was alleged that the decedent was exposed to asbestos and developed mesothelioma from his work cutting couplings on Certainteed asbestos-containing irrigation pipe next to his family property for an approximate two-week period in either 1969 or 1970. Through discovery it was learned that some of the pipe was removed and reinstalled. After finding witnesses who were able to testify where the reinstalled piping was located, Certainteed excavated the pipe and it was found to be made by another manufacturer. Additionally, the decedent had stored some of the piping for over 40 years on his property. Through discovery it was learned that a personal representative of the estate, who was also one of the plaintiffs in the case and serving as the president of the decedent’s company, had the pipe disposed of during the ongoing litigation. This prompted Certainteed to file a spoliation motion, which it won. The court subsequently gave an adverse inference charge to the jury.