Spontaneous Glass Breakage Lawsuit Comes to an End

April 14th, 2017 by Editor

A Missouri court has ruled against a woman seeking hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages for injuries she says were sustained from broken glass at a federal building in Kansas City, Mo.

In April of 2013, Social Security Administration employee Jessie Cobbins sustained “permanent personal injuries” due to a tempered glass door at a federal office building that ‘exploded’ as she attempted to unlock it, according to United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri court documents. Cobbins filed a lawsuit against the general contractor, glass fabricators and contract glazier for damages of $800,000, alleging the defendants’ negligence in properly warning of and/or preventing the glass’ spontaneous breakage.

The defendants, including J.E. Dunn Construction, Insulite Glass Company of Olathe, Kan., Bratton Corp., Cimmaron Electric and Skyline Design of Chicago, denied the allegations. In its answer, door installer Bratton, asserts it “at all times complied with all applicable government and industry laws, codes, regulations and standards.” J.E. Dunn was the general contractor for a project that involved the installation of the glass doors, which were fabricated by Insulite and Skyline Design, according to court documents. Cimmaron Electric is a construction company contracted by the General Services Administration.

Robert K. Ball II and Martin M. Gorin were the counsel of record for Cobbins and her husband, Robert, but they withdrew from their involvement in the case in April 2016, stating they had reached an “impasse as to the value of their case.” The attorneys added that they were “unwilling to invest time, energy and expense” in what they feel will “turn out to be a hopeless venture.”

Months later, Cimmaron, J.E. Dunn, Skyline and Bratton filed for motions for summary judgement, and Cobbins failed to address the defendants’ assertion of fact, prompting judge Ortri D. Smith to rule in the defendants’ favor.

Insulite did not file for summary judgment and remained the sole defendant. However, the court held a pretrial conference in December, and Insulite’s counsel met with the plaintiffs. The Cobbins’ were informed they had 90 days to retain counsel or state that they would represent themselves. They failed to file a statement with the court in that timeframe, and in March 2017, the court dismissed the case.

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