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Matson & Associates, Inc.
331 East Foster Ave.
State College, PA 16801
814 / 231-5253

Representative Cases: Contract Disputes

Breach of Contract--Subsurface Methane
When a municipality sued a homebuilder and its insurance company for over 2 million dollars for breach of contract associated with the presence of methane in the subsurface, the insurer’s counsel retained M&A to evaluate the plaintiff’s expert’s opinion that methane was entering the basements of homes through cracks and utility penetrations and had the potential to reach explosive levels.

Discovery materials revealed that prior to residential development, residual mulch stockpiles mixed with varying amounts of rich, organic fertilizer remained on-site from tree service operations. During development of the site, portions of the area were cut or filled which resulted in the burial of some mulch material and the subsequent production of methane gas as the organic materials underwent microbial degradation.

After further examination of discovery documents, which included methane data collected from the homes and subsurface, and peer-reviewed technical literature concerning the mechanisms and phenomena associated with methane transport and mitigation, M&A determined that the data did not support the plaintiff’s expert’s opinion. M&A opined that the methane present in the subsurface posed no danger to the homeowners and therefore the long-term monitoring and extraction systems recommended by the plaintiff’s expert were unnecessary and the costs proposed for the systems were not justified. M&A provided deposition testimony and shortly thereafter the case settled very favorably for the insurance company.

Analysis of Wastewater Treatment Performance
When a municipality that owned and operated a municipal wastewater treatment plant sued the company that designed the tertiary treatment system, M&A was retained by the law firm representing the designer to evaluate whether the filtration system complied with performance objectives specified in the contract between the wastewater authority and the engineering design firm. We investigated the design, construction, operation, maintenance and performance of the filtration system by performing detailed analyses of engineering drawings, design parameters, O&M manuals, operator logs, performance test data, and NPDES compliance data and having a number of conversations with the design team in person and over the phone. M&A provided expert opinions on behalf of the defendants indicating the company met the reasonable standard of care, and that any concerns with the performance of the treatment system stemmed from maintenance and operating issues and not the system design.

Other Representative Cases:

Litigation Support


Expert Witnessing