Sam W. Emerson Co. vs. The Illuminating Co.
Independence, OH

The Sam W. Emerson Co. had been hired by The Illuminating Co. to demolish and level the site of the former Geon Building HQ in Independence. The 160,000 sf four-story Geon building sat immediately in front of CEI’s headquarters.

CEI had sold the property to Duke Realty who intended to develop a series of multi-tenant office buildings. The terms of CEI’s sale of the property involved dates that were challenging, given the need to abate the existing building’s asbestos before demolition of the structure and clearing of the site could begin. When Emerson’s abatement subcontractor fell behind schedule, CEI breached its contract with Emerson and appropriated the subcontractor’s equipment and engaged a third party to perform without the consent or involvement of Emerson.

Litigation resulted. Eberhard’s testimony was favorable to Emerson who was not in privity with Duke on the land purchase. CEI breached its contract with Emerson by not allowing Emerson to correct the performance of its subcontractor. The case settled in a matter satisfactory to both parties.