Tanenbaum Keale recently reached a confidential settlement for one of the world’s leading manufacturers of water heater and water treatment products. The firm’s client faced tens of millions of dollars in potential liability.

The matter arose from a carbon monoxide exposure incident that occurred in early 2019 at an apartment building located in Maryland with the client’s water heater products installed in the boiler room at the property.  The plaintiffs alleged that a carbon monoxide detector in an apartment went off and ultimately a defendant in the case, who served as a property manager, disabled the unit when it continued to sound.  Eventually, emergency medical personnel were called to the complex after residents reported experiencing flu-like symptoms.

The local fire department later discovered that the exhaust elbow on one of the water heaters was detached from the tank and releasing exhaust gasses, including carbon monoxide, into the building.

An amended complaint filed in March of 2021 in a Maryland circuit court asserted claims against the firm’s client for strict liability and breach of express and implied warranties associated with the water heater at issue.

Tanenbaum Keale attorneys James H. Keale and Timothy R. Freeman vigorously defended against allegations, and after deposing plaintiffs’ liability expert, prepared a motion for summary judgment, and a motion to exclude plaintiffs’ liability expert based on Maryland Rule of Evidence 702.  Before the motions were filed, the firm leveraged the strength of this position resulting from the successful deposition of plaintiffs’ expert to negotiate the settlement.