$800k Property Damage Claim




This project related to a fine fabric artist whose home, attached art studio and extensive collection of finished art and expensive raw materials were destroyed by an explosion and fire.  The plaintiff alleged this tragedy was caused by an improperly-installed propane system that leaked the gas into the crawlspace beneath the house, which subsequently ignited by the pressure switch of the water pump (fortunately no one was at home at the time).

There were no blueprints of the home-studio, and only a few photographs (interiors only, poor quality) available for reference.  One key point of contention was how the plaintiff could have stored as much raw fabric and finished art as she and her witnesses claimed, in such a small home-studio.  The answer was that she made excellent use of space, utilizing a floor-to ceiling gridwork of fabric storage bins, and many bookcases and shelving units.  This would obviously be very difficult to depict in a 2D drawing, in a way that the average juror could readily grasp.


The plaintiff’s law firm retained me

I was retained by the plaintiff’s law firm, Martin & Raynor, Charlottesville, VA, to consult on, design and produce the following courtroom presentation items:

  • An extensive array of analytical graphics, depicting the home-studio and all its major components
  • Charts containing scientific information, legal provisions and document callouts
  • A timeline of all key events

Regarding the graphical portion of the presentation, after developing several key 2D illustrations (essentially orthographic and perspective “blueprints”), I then produced 3D models of the home-studio, from all key angles.  The mission, as Martin & Raynor and I defined it, was to recreate the plaintiff’s home and art studio sufficiently to take jurors “inside” both.


The result

With the aid of the presentation that I created (below), Martin & Raynor was able to obtain pre-trial settlements from all three defendants.

“This was a very difficult project, because of the fact that you did not have the ability to do a site inspection, or even look at high-quality pictures.  Indeed, we gave you very little to work with.  But you embraced the challenge, were a good collaborator, and always came to client meetings with an idea to start discussions, but were also willing to modify your thinking to adapt to our needs.  You were very responsive to our requests for information, and very prompt with edits.

“The work you did on this case has been extremely effective in presenting our arguments, in such a way as to take viewers ‘inside’ our client’s home-studio, to ‘see’ for themselves what we allege occurred.  Particularly in regards to the 3D graphics, they were just spectacular, and worked well for us.”

Jonathan Wren, attorney, Martin & Raynor


The presentation I created

Below are the major portions of the presentation:

  • A detailed overhead “blueprint” of the house and art studio
  • A perspective drawing of the crawlspace with key items highlighted
  • 3D model renderings showing various aspects of the house and art studio, with walls, etc. visible and removed


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