Other Fire/Flammability Cases

FIRM PARTNER ROBIN FOSTER OBTAINS 4.4 MILLION VERDICT AGAINST USA'S LARGEST POWER COMPANY

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FLAMMABLE COUCH SLIP COVER IGNITES, KILLING TWO CHILDREN

On December 22, 2003, in the Plaintiff's apartment in Charleston S.C., a small open flame ignited a sofa slip cover sold by a major retailer, but made in Pakistan. The highly flammable fabric slip cover spread the fire quickly, engulfing the sofa it covered. When the polyurethane foam within the sofa became involved, the fire quickly grew to lethal proportions, and a young child, age 5, and his sister, age 8, tragically met their untimely deaths. The case was filed in South Carolina District Court, Charleston Division July, 2008 against the maker and all in the chain of distribution. The parties reached a confidential settlement in August 2009, following a year of discovery in the case. See the video comparison test above, of an exemplar slip cover like the one involved in the case, verses a naturally flame resistant polyester fiber sofa slip cover fabric (and commercially available at the same retailer), and both being exposed to the same open flame ignition.


MAN BURNED SERIOUSLY FROM CANDLE FIRE FROM USE OF CANDLES FOLLOWING WRONGFUL TERMINATION OF POWER

Foster Law Firm LLC filed suit in July, 2005 on behalf of a man and his wife whose electrical power was wrongfully terminated to their South Carolina mobile home, made by Fleetwood Homes of Georgia, Inc. The power company, Progress Energy Carolinas, Inc., who wrongfully terminated the electrical power, forced them to use candles to see until the power issue could be addressed the next day. On April 27, 2005, the evening following the termination earlier in the day, a candle lit to provide light that evening fell from a wall sconce, igniting the upholstered furniture made by Bassett Furniture Industries, Inc. It produced an extremely rapidly developing fire. As Mrs. Graham exited the front door in the same room, the fire ventilated itself with fresh oxygen and Mr. Graham, behind her, had to retreat to find an alternative way out. He unsuccessfully tried to operate the emergency egress window (made by Phillips Inc.) in his bedroom and was overcome by the smoke and toxic gases from the burning sofa, which had quickly filled rooms remote from the origin with dangerous combustion products. Thankfully, Mr. Graham was rescued alive by firefighters, but suffered burns over 17% of his body and serious pulmonary injuries from breathing the poisonous gases. His medical bills total 1.13 million. The Grahams claim both the extremely flammable Bassett sofa, as well as the emergency egress window were defective, and that the smoke alarms installed by Fleetwood should have contained battery back-ups to allow operation during power outages. The suit is styled Wallace Graham et al, v. Bassett Furniture Industries, Inc., Fleetwood Homes of Georgia, Inc., Progress Energy Carolinas, Inc. and Phillips Inc., Case number 4:05-CV-2895-TLW. The parties reached confidential settlements with all defendants except the power company. The trial judge granted summary judgment to Progress Energy Carolinas, which the Grahams appealed to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. The oral argument on the appeal was set for May 12, 2010. Click here to read the Grahams brief in support of reversing the dismissal of Progress Energy.


SIX DEATHS - FIVE INJURIES IN MOBILE HOME FIRE FUELED BY FOAM FILLED SOFA

Foster Law Firm was associated as counsel for plaintiffs in claims filed in May and July, 2004, against upholstered furniture maker Futuristic, Inc., of Bean Station, Tennessee, and a mobile home manufacturer, Oakwood Homes (now in bankruptcy). The claims arise out of a July 9, 2003 Jacksonville, North Carolina fire, started in the manufactured home occupied by the plaintiffs, by a mentally challenged child, who ignited a candle with a cigarette lighter.

The polyurethane foam filled couch, made by Futuristic, Inc., ignited and within minutes, filled the mobile home with intense heat as well as thick, black toxic smoke, trapping 6 of his siblings, who perished in the fire. His mother, along with help from neighbors, was finally able to break out a bedroom window, where 4 children were rescued, but sustained severe smoke inhalation injuries. The mother nearly bled to death from the lacerations caused by the large shards of glass which remained in the window frame, which was not made of safety glass.

The plaintiffs allege the sofa was excessively flammable and exhibited a high rate of fire growth, with release of high heat and toxic by-products of combustion. Plaintiffs allege construction defects in the manufactured home, including inadequate draft stops, emergency egress windows and smoke alarms. The cases are styled Boyd Tisdale, Administrator of the Estate of Amanda Leigh Ann Turner, Estate of Doreen Shavanet Oates, Estate of Jessie LaMont Oates, Jr., Estate of QuaNesh Maria Lavette Oates, Estate of Diamond Faith Carol Perez, and Estate of Angela Lynette Avila, vs. Futuristic, Inc. and Oakwood Homes Corporation, Case No. 04 CVS 1714 and Boyd Tisdale, Guardian ad Litem for Lauren Ashley Oates, Anthony Oates, Sharetha Lanae Oates, and Latasha Tashae Oates, and Mary Alice Turner, as mother of Lauren Ashley Oates, Anthony Oates, Sharetha Oates, Latasha Tashae Oates, vs. Futuristic, Inc., Case No. 04 CVS 2084 (Onslow County).