Preserving the evidence

In construction litigation, destroying evidence can mean destroying a case

Picture yourself in this situation: A county sheriff arrives at your office and hands you a summons and complaint. You've been named a defendant in a lawsuit. Reading the complaint, you learn the plaintiff owns a commercial office building where you installed a built-up roof system five years ago.

Reading the complaint further, you learn the owner, increasingly frustrated with recurring leaks and fearing the roof might blow off in a storm, has reroofed the building and seeks to recover the reroofing costs from your company in the pending lawsuit.

Upon checking your company's records, you see your firm received intermittent leak calls from the owner's property manager. Your company's last communication in response to the leak calls was to notify the owner that your company's two-year warranty had long since expired.

You and your attorney delve further into the lawsuit to prepare your defense. You learn the owner, after receiving notice that your firm's two-year warranty had expired, retained a roof consultant who took test cuts and monitored the existing roof system's removal and replacement.

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