CSAA (Subrogee of Zamora) vs. Colder Products Company
Defense Decision, Arbitration October 2012
Stephen Smith and Sung Ho (Sean) Kim obtained a defense verdict in favor of Colder Products Company in binding arbitration conducted in connection with a lawsuit brought by California State Automobile Association. Plaintiff, CSAA, alleged that Colder's quick-disconnect couplings on a residential water filter were defective caused and caused $100,000 in property damage that had occurred to CSAA's insured's residence. Based on the property damage, plaintiff sought reimbursement of all payments made by plaintiff for repairing the damage and for interest for more than six years. Plaintiff contended that the coupling was defectively designed or defectively manufactured by Colder.
In response, defendant Colder demonstrated that the couplings were a component part of an overall water filtration system designed by others such that Colder was insulated from liability under the "component part manufacturer defense." In support of that defense, Colder demonstrated that the subject coupling was manufactured and supplied in accordance with the specifications provided by its customer, the filter system manufacturer and designer, such that Colder was not responsible for the incident and property damage. Further, Colder established that about $20,000 in repairs to the residence was due to the negligence of the contractor, and not to the failure of the filter system, and demonstrated to the satisfaction of the arbitrator that plaintiff's expert's opinions were fundamentally flawed, lacked a scientific foundation in evidence and were contradicted by evidence. As a result, the arbitrator found plaintiff's expert, along with her opinions, to be unpersuasive.
The arbitrator found that plaintiff CSAA failed to establish proof of product defect and failed to establish that Colder caused the incident. In addition, the arbitrator found that the component part manufacturer defense applied. Accordingly, a defense verdict was awarded in favor of colder and judgment entered for Colder in accordance with the arbitrator's decision.