An Iowa school that alleged a contractor’s negligence caused a fire that damaged the school’s roof settled for $4.3 million, according to the school’s St. Louis-based attorney.
Richard Gerber of Evans & Dixon said the Atlantic Community School District retained the defendant to install a new roof. The defendant used grinding tools to remove hundreds of six-inch metal fasteners, causing sparks and embers that ignited the combustibles on the roof.
The school alleged that the defendant left for lunch without extinguishing hot spots and did not leave anyone behind to monitor the roof, which allowed the smoldering spots to ignite.
Gerber said the plaintiff alleged the fire caused more than $5 million in damages, though the defendant disputed the figure. Gerber said a major issue prior to the settlement was whether to measure the damages by the fair market value of the building or by the reasonable replacement cost of the roof.
Gerber said a portion of the settlement was paid by a general contracting company but that the primary allegations were against the contractor.
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$4.3 million settlement (out of state)
Venue: Cass County, Iowa, District Court
Case Number/Date: LACV026132/Oct. 12, 2022
Caption: Atlantic Community School District and EMC Insurance Co v. Garcia Family Construction
Plaintiff’s Attorney: Richard D. Gerber, Evans & Dixon, St. Louis
Defendant’s Attorney: Adam Bates, Peddicord Wharton, Des Moines, Iowa