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Splendorio v. Bilray Demolition Co., Inc.

682 A.2d 461 (1996)

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Splendorio v. Bilray Demolition Co., Inc.

Rhode Island Supreme Court

682 A.2d 461 (1996)

Facts

Certified Engineering and Testing Co., Inc., (Certified) (defendant) contracted with Providence Housing Authority (PHA) to inspect for the existence of asbestos in public-housing buildings scheduled to be demolished. If Certified found asbestos, Certified was required to develop a plan for abatement of the asbestos prior to the demolition of the building. Certified found asbestos in the buildings scheduled for demolition and developed a plan for D. Dixon Donovan Co. (Dixon) to remove the asbestos. After Dixon removed the asbestos, Certified reexamined the building and found no asbestos. PHA then hired Bilray Demolition Co. (Bilray) (defendant) to demolish the buildings. Bilray took the debris from the demolition site to a waste facility. It also took some of the debris to Bilray’s own wrecking yard, in violation of state law. A few years later, Certified was examining another building and discovered a thin coat of asbestos. Certified decided to analyze the debris of the public-housing buildings demolished earlier and found a small amount of asbestos. Frances and Anthony Splendorio (plaintiffs) lived in the vicinity of Bilray’s wrecking yard, and thus within the vicinity of a small amount of asbestos. The Splendorios brought suit against Certified, Bilray, and another defendant, alleging the value of their property decreased as a result of the presence of asbestos in the wrecking yard. Certified moved for summary judgment on the claims for absolute liability and negligence. The trial court granted the motion for summary judgment, finding that Certified was not subject to absolute liability and that Certified had no duty to the Splendorios, because the harm suffered was unforeseeable. The Splendorios appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Bourcier, J.)

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