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Court of Appeals of Wisconsin, Peter v. Sprinkmann Sons Corp. (Jan. 27, 2015) January 28, 2015

Wisconsin’s Court of Appeals ruled that its statute of repose applies to the initial installation of insulation to piping as an improvement to real property, but the repair and maintenance of that insulation is not an improvement and therefore the statute does not apply.

The court stated: “We agree that the initial installation of insulation into a building or house may be considered an improvement to real property. However, that is not the situation that we have before us. Peter does not claim that Donald was exposed to asbestos from the initial installation of all the insulation on the Pabst pipes. Rather, her claim is that his injury occurred during the daily exposure when Sprinkmann’s employee performed regular maintenance and repair work to the insulation around the pipes. This is a significant and determinative factor in this case. As Peter explains, ‘[i]t is Sprinkmann’s act of disturbing the insulation during maintenance and repair activities and the failure to warn the plaintiff when disturbing that insulation which caused the harm in this case.’ Accordingly, because we conclude that Sprinkmann’s daily repairs on the insulation at Pabst were not improvements to real property, the statute of repose does not apply to bar Peter’s action and therefore, we reverse the summary judgment and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.”

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