SOURCE: Ram, Olson, Cereghino & Kopczynski LLP

October 15, 2015 15:50 ET

Appeals Court Reinstates Jury Verdict Against Tile Manufacturer

Class Action Suit Claiming CLRA and UCL Violations Returns to Trial Court

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwired - Oct 15, 2015) -  For the third time, the Third District Court of Appeal on Wednesday ruled in favor of a class of homeowners who purchased defective roof tiles from defendant Monier, Inc. The Court of Appeal reversed a Placer County Superior Court post-trial decision, which had overturned the jury's verdict, and instead ordered that judgment be reinstated in favor of the plaintiffs and against Monier.

"After 12 years of litigation, including three appeals, we are very pleased that finally the plaintiff class will receive just compensation," said Jeffrey Cereghino of San Francisco-based litigation firm Ram, Olson, Cereghino & Kopczynski LLP, the lead counsel for the class.

"Justice has been served," added Richard Rosenthal, the Tiburon appellate counsel for the class that argued the appeal.

Filed in 2003, the complaint alleged that Monier, Inc., a concrete roof-tile manufacturer, violated the Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA) and the Unfair Competition Law (UCL) by knowingly failing to disclose inherent defects in its concrete roof tiles that were marketed as lasting "50 years" and "a lifetime." The defects resulted in the wearing away of the "permanent" color glaze, leaving behind bare, uncolored concrete. More than 127,000 homes in California are roofed with defective Monier roof tiles.

Following a three-month-long trial in 2012, a Placer County Superior Court jury ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, finding Monier had knowingly concealed the defective nature of its tiles, and awarded millions in damages. However, after the jury rendered its verdict, Judge Roger Piquet, a visiting judge who presided over the trial, vacated the verdict and entered judgment for Monier, ruling that plaintiffs' statistical evidence was flawed.

But on October 14, the Court of Appeal held that while the trial court properly excluded plaintiffs' statistical expert, there was enough evidence for the jury to find liability and damages against Monier. As a result, the appellate court reinstated the jury's verdict against Monier and remanded the case to the trial court to determine the size of the class.

In addition to Cereghino and Rosenthal, the plaintiffs were represented at trial by Michael Ram of Ram, Olson, Cereghino & Kopczynski LLP in San Francisco; Mary Reiten, now with Terrell & Marshall in Seattle, Wash.; Richard Dorman of Badham & Buck in Birmingham, Ala.; Kirk Boyd of Boyd & Berkowitz in San Francisco; Beth Terrell of Terrell & Marshall; and Jess Bedore of the Law Offices of Jess Bedore in Roseville, Calif. William Robles of Robles & Castle and William Stern of Morrison & Foerster in San Francisco represented defendant Monier, Inc.

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