Insurance co. sues manufacturer over defective appliance that caused fire

By Jon Campisi | Sep 30, 2011

An insurance company that had to pay out a homeowner’s claim of more than $200,000 stemming from a household fire is suing the manufacturer and distributor of the microwave oven that has allegedly been identified as the cause of the blaze.

Audubon, N.J., lawyer Dennis J. Crawford filed the federal product liability complaint Sept. 26 at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on behalf of the Philadelphia Contributionship Insurance Co.

The company insured the Sharon Hill home of Simon Sop at which the fire occurred.

The defendants named in the lawsuit are Michigan-based Whirlpool Corp. and South Korea-based Daewoo Electronics, which has offices in the United States.

Both defendants, the lawsuit states, manufacture, design and distribute the Magic Chef brand of household appliances, including the microwave oven at the center of this case.

According to the civil complaint, the fire at Sop’s Pennsylvania home occurred on Oct. 30, 2009. The blaze was determined to have originated in the kitchen from a wall-mounted Magic Chef microwave.

The fire was determined to have been caused by an electrical malfunction within the control compartment of the microwave, the suit claims.

As a result of the fire, Sop filed a claim with Philadelphia Contributionship Insurance Co. for $206,000 in property damage. The claim sought repair and restoration of the home, replacement of personal property and alternative living arrangements.

The lawsuit accuses Whirpool and Daewoo of negligently and carelessly designing and manufacturing the Magic Chef microwave oven, in that it was dangerous and unsafe for its intended use.

There is also a claim of strict liability in the lawsuit, in which the plaintiff claims its insured party was unaware the product made and sold by the defendants had a dangerous condition.

The complaint also contains a breach of warranty count.

The insurance company demands judgment in the amount of $206,000, the amount it paid Sop for his claim. It also seeks legal fees and other court relief deemed reasonable.

The plaintiff has demanded a trial by jury.

The federal case number is 2:11-cv-06041-AB.

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