Beveridge & Diamond

Beveridge & Diamond Wins Affirmance in D.C. Court of Appeals of Trial Court Victory on Tort Claims

Beveridge & Diamond, P.C., July 8, 2013

The District of Columbia Court of Appeals on July 3 unanimously affirmed a defense judgment for Beveridge & Diamond client DC Water, agreeing with the trial court that the Plaintiffs failed to prove that that drinking water supplied to apartment buildings owned by the plaintiffs caused pinhole leaks in the plumbing in the buildings. The Court of Appeals’ ruling followed a three week bench trial in District of Columbia Superior Court in 2011, which centered on extensive expert testimony on water chemistry, water distribution and corrosion science.

The Court of Appeals ruled that the evidence supported the trial court’s conclusion that DC Water’s  “actions or inactions . . . could not have been a substantial factor—or even a factor at all—in causing the pinhole leaks in appellants’ properties.”  DC Water’s experts explained that many factors under the control of the building owner cause pinhole leaks in copper pipes, including poor workmanship and improperly maintained hot water heaters.   The Cormier case establishes important precedent that will protect utilities and other water suppliers. Press coverage of the decision includes a BNA Daily Environment Report article quoting Jimmy Slaughter, and an online article in Legal Times

Jimmy Slaughter, Nadira Clarke, and Kate Wesley, Principals in Beveridge & Diamond’s Washington office, assisted by Associate Brandon Harrell, led the appellate and trial teams. The Court of Appeals’ opinion in Cormier v. District of Columbia Water & Sewer Authority is reported at ___ A.3d ___, 2013 D.C. App. LEXIS 387 (D.C. 2013) and the trial court opinion is reported at 2011 D.C. Super. Lexis 7, 139 Daily Wash. Law Rptr. 2157 (D.C. Super. Ct.  2011).  To read the Court of Appeals’ opinion in Cormier v. DC WASA, please click here.

For more information, please contact Jimmy Slaughter at, Nadira Clarke at, or Kate Wesley at