On September 5, 2012, a Rockwall County jury took less than an hour to reach its unanimous decision that the Firm’s client, a tankless water heater manufacturer, was not liable for water damage allegedly caused by a defective tankless water heater. Sheehy, Ware & Pappas, P.C. Attorney Raymond A. Neuer represented the tankless water heater manufacturer at trial. The homeowner’s insurance company had sought reimbursement for the cost of the repairs to its insured’s flooded home. It was alleged that the flexible hose connected to the tankless water heater failed twice because the tankless water heater, distributed by the Firm’s client was defectively manufactured and marketed.
After two days of testimony, the jury concluded that the insured homeowner was 100% responsible for the damages to his home. During the course of the trial, there was evidence that the homeowner: (1) undertook the responsibility to install the tankless water heater; (2) failed to ensure that the appropriate high pressure flexible hose used during the installation process was compatible to the tankless water heater; (3) failed to heed the express warnings provided in the owner’s manual and repeatedly restarted the tankless water heater when the thermal cut off shut the tankless water heater off because of increased temperatures; and (4) failed to follow the manufacturer’s recommendation to contact it or a qualified installer before restarting the tankless water heater if the thermal cut off shut off the tankless water heater because of increased temperatures. In reaching its decision, the jury disregarded Plaintiff’s expert’s testimony regarding the feasibility of an alternative safer design.