Table-Turning Defense Win in Construction Materials Product Defect Dispute

Mitby Pacholder Johnson trial lawyers earned a significant defense win in a construction materials product defect dispute on behalf of client Huntsman International. At issue was an 8-figure damages claim filed in Massachusetts federal court over structural failures of a state-funded viaduct project.

The Mitby Pacholder Johnson Litigation Approach

When expansion joints on the Interstate 95 project near Springfield, Massachusetts, failed and had to be replaced, the subcontractor sought to divert blame by claiming that the structural problems were caused by defective products, rather than improper storage and use of the materials.

Whether representing plaintiffs or defendants in complex commercial litigation, the trial lawyers at Mitby Pacholder Johnson have developed a reputation for sophisticated and creative trial strategies. Rather than sitting back and waiting for the next move, firm co-founder Steve Mitby says he’s learned from experience that a good defense often requires an aggressive response. In this case, the trial team quickly got to work by taking a deep dive and executing a comprehensive defense strategy. They identified errors in the federal lawsuit filed by D.S. Brown and moved to  transfer the litigation to a more favorable venue.

Hitting back with a strong defense

The tables began to turn when MPJ lawyers filed a counterclaim in state district court in Montgomery County, Texas, seeking a declaration of non-liability under the Texas Uniform Declaratory Judgment Act and attorney fees.

Using Texas expansive and fast discovery process, the MPJ team assembled evidence that Huntsman’s products performed as designed and other factors were responsible for the expansion joint failures. Deposition of D.S. Brown’s witnesses generated key admissions regarding the cause of the failures.

The case settled on the eve of trial on extremely favorable terms to Huntsman. The defense victory that resulted is an example of how Mitby Pacholder Johnson lawyers combine creativity with an aggressive approach to litigation to find business solutions to high-stakes commercial litigation.

“This extremely favorable settlement occurred because of the early and aggressive work we performed that placed Huntsman in a very favorable position leading to the trial date,” Mitby said.

The case is Huntsman International LLC v. D.S. Brown Company, Cause No. 19-11-14861, in the County Court at Law Number 2, Montgomery County, Texas

Like many Mitby Pachoder Johnson clients, Huntsman International has developed a close relationship with the firm and has tapped the trial team for a range of representation, including intellectual property and patent disputes and commercial disputes.

About Mitby Pacholder Johnson

Founded by Steven J. Mitby, Debbie Pacholder, and Timothy Johnson, Mitby Pacholder Johnson combines the depth of seasoned commercial trial lawyers, licensed patent attorneys and an award-winning general counsel to attack complicated legal issues and business disputes head-on. With a record of significant jury verdicts and settlements, the team has developed a reputation for aggressive and sophisticated strategies to maximize business, intellectual property, commercial arbitration, regulatory, and employment disputes. The firm’s expertise spans industries, including energy, oil and gas, healthcare and construction. More information is available at