Pennsylvania Record

Monday, January 20, 2020

Plumbing company denies fault for automatic coffee maker's supply hose that flooded Carlson Lynch law offices

State Court

By Nicholas Malfitano | Dec 5, 2019


PITTSBURGH – A plumbing company named in a lawsuit from a notable Pennsylvania plaintiffs’ law firm has discounted itself from liability claims levied by the firm and fellow defendants that a faulty water supply hose leaked and led to damage in the firm’s Pittsburgh offices.

Schubert Plumbing & Heating, Inc. filed an answer with new matter to the complaint on Oct. 9, 2018, an answer to a cross-claim from Coastal Ningbo Hardware Manufacturing Co., Ltd. on Oct. 29, 2018 and another answer to Ferguson Enterprises, Inc. on Nov. 26, denying liability and fault.

In the original answer to the complaint more than one year ago, Schubert Plumbing & Heating, Inc. averred that it properly performed its duties to install the automatic coffee maker, that the plaintiff failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted and set forth defenses under the doctrines of waiver, estoppel, laches, accord and satisfaction, among numerous others, in denying liability and fault for the events claimed by the firm in its lawsuit.

In both cross-claim responses to fellow corporate defendants filed more recently, Schubert Plumbing & Heating restated its replies found in the original answer filed last year.

Carlson Lynch Sweet Kilpela & Carpenter of Pittsburgh first filed suit in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas on Aug. 13, 2018, versus Coastal Ningbo Hardware Manufacturing Co., Ltd. of Ningo Zhejiang, China, Ferguson Enterprises, Inc. of Newport News, Va. and Schubert Plumbing & Heating Inc., of Glenshaw.

“Prior to June 5, 2017, Carlson Lynch hired Schubert to install an automatic coffee maker in its leased premises as part of a renovation of the Carlson Lynch space. In order to supply water to the automatic coffee maker, Schubert purchased and installed a Coastal Ningbo braided flexible water supply hose, and related fittings and appurtenances [a water supply hose] and installed and connected the coffee maker to the building water supply,” the suit stated.

“Ferguson sold and supplied the subject water supply hose to Schubert. On or about June 5, 2017, under normal operating conditions, the subject water supply hose malfunctioned, separated and failed causing water to leak from the hose and throughout the Carlson Lynch space and the subject property, from the fifth floor to the ground level. As a result of the aforesaid incident, Carlson Lynch suffered damage to its real, personal and business property, as well as the loss of use thereof and the loss of business income therefrom.”

Carlson Lynch said the defendants were responsible for failing to properly design, develop, manufacture, assemble, produce, test, inspect and market the flexible water supply hose and related fittings and connections so that the product was able to tolerate normal and foreseeable operating conditions.

The defendants also allegedly failed to adequately warn installers, resellers, users and consumers that the subject water supply hose was defective and could catastrophically fail and leak, as well as allegedly failing to properly inspect and/or test the defective flexible water supply hose before selling, supplying and installing it, among other charges.

Carlson Lynch has been notable for filing large numbers of lawsuits citing alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, including for defendants’ whose websites are said to violate that same statute.

For multiple counts of negligence, strict product liability, breach of warranty, breach of implied warranty of merchantability and breach of implied warranty of workmanlike performance the plaintiff is seeking judgment, plus interest, costs and such other and further relief as the Court deems just and appropriate.

The plaintiff is represented by Steven L. Smith of the Law Offices of Steven L. Smith, in Swarthmore.

The defendants are represented by Brook T. Dirlam and Thomas E. Zumpella of Thomas Thomas & Hafer in Pittsburgh, plus David B. Pizzica, Thomas S. Coleman and Robert M. Cavalier of Lucas & Cavalier, in Philadelphia.

Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas cases GD-18-013547

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at

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Carlson, Lynch, Sweet & Kilpela

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