R.P. Lumber Company fought back Thursday in an Edwardsville couple's lawsuit over allegedly defective custom cabinets.

Doug and Jeanne Wojcieszak filed a lawsuit Dec. 23 against Masco Cabinetry, Huttig, R.P. Lumber Co. and Carrington Custom Homes.

They allege they will be forced to pay more than $30,000 to replace cabinets that allegedly began warping after a few years of use.

Defendant R.P. Lumber Company answered the plaintiff's first amended complaint, stating they did not manufacture the product at issue, and that the manufacturer was identified in the lawsuit.

The harm alleged by the plaintiffs was caused by a characteristic of the product at issue, a generic aspect of the product and cannot be eliminated without compromising the products' usefulness, the answer states.

Peter N. Lertiz of Leritz, Plunkert & Bruning represents R.P. Lumber.

Defendant Huttig Building Products filed to dismiss the lawsuit on Feb. 13. The company says it did not issue a warranty to Doug and Jeanne Wojcieszak for the products at issue in the couple's lawsuit.

The Wojcieszaks say they installed Merillat Cabinetry in their custom home in January 2007.

The couple decided to use Merillat Cabinetry after approaching their builders, Carrington and R.P. Lumber, for recommendations, according to the complaint.

The Wojcieszaks followed the recommendation, and the Merillat Cabinetry, manufactured by Masco, was installed in their home by R.P. and Carrington. The cabinetry included a 25-year warranty, the suit states.

In August 2009, the finish on the custom-built cabinets was peeling and flaking, the complaint says. The couple claims they called R.P.
In the fall of 2009, Masco replaced the damaged cabinets, while Carrington and R.P. installed them free of charge, according to the complaint.

The Wojcieszaks noticed their cabinets again began to buckle and warp in December 2010. The couple contacted R.P., which allegedly told them to contact Huttig Building Products, according to the complaint.

A Huttig employee, who inspected the damage to the cabinets, decided the warping and buckling was not normal and was not caused from wear and tear, the Wojcieszaks say.

Huttig, represented by Richard Day and the law firm of Hennessy & Roach, also filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on Feb. 13.

Huttig says the damages alleged were caused by the plaintiff's misuse of the product for an unforeseeable purpose.

Huttig also states the damages resulted from some event following its delivery of the goods, and it cannot be held responsible for the plaintiff's damages.

Huttig says the plaintiffs knew or should have known of any defect in the cabinetry at the time of delivery and yet still accepted and used the product.

A Masco employee also countered the Wojcieszaks' suit, saying the cabinetry was damaged through normal use.

The Wojcieszaks claim they will be forced to incur costs of more than $30,000 to replace their cabinetry.

Madison County Circuit Judge William Mudge on March 13 allowed Defendant Masco Cabinetry to have until March 26 to file a responsive pleading.

Doug Wojcieszak is the former head of Victims and Families United, an organization involved in the Illinois Supreme Court race between Lloyd Karmeier and Gordon Maag in 2004. Victim and Families United was aligned with the trial bar in its criticism of placing limits on lawsuits.

Attorneys Rebecca Jackson and Travis Campbell of the St. Louis law firm Bryan Cave on Feb. 22 announced their representation of defendant Masco Cabinetry.

Samantha S. Unsell of Belleville represents the Wojcieszaks.

Rebecca Jackson and Travis Campbell of Bryan Cave in St. Louis represent Masco Cabinetry.

Richard Day of Hennessy & Roach in St. Louis represents Huttig Building Products.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 11-L-1437.

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