Homeowner burned by hot tar sues roofing company

By Jon Campisi | Nov 5, 2012

A Philadelphia homeowner who claims she was severely burned by molten hot roofing tar

that leaked through to her bedroom has filed a personal injury claim against the contractor who was performing work on her house at the time.

Luz Cuevas is suing Philadelphia-based John Fisher & Sons Roofing over the injuries she allegedly sustained on May 26 of this year.

The plaintiff had hired the defendant to replace the roof on her East Somerville Avenue home, according to the complaint, which was filed Nov. 1 at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas by Philadelphia attorney Thomas J. Murphy, Jr.

At the time of the incident, the suit states, one of the defendant’s workmen asked the plaintiff to go into the upstairs bedroom of the home and unplug the defendant’s electrical cord, which had been connected to a power outlet in the bedroom.

It was at this time that the plaintiff suddenly, and without warning, felt the molten hot roofing tar drip down through her bedroom ceiling and onto her left arm, the complaint alleges.

The suit claims that as a result of the defendant’s negligence, Cuevas may require skin grafting surgery to cure her badly burned arm.

Cuevas also suffered permanent disfigurement in the form of about 30 scars, including several raised scars throughout her left arm, the lawsuit claims.

The plaintiff has incurred various medical expenses related to her injuries, and she is expected to do the same in the foreseeable future.

The complaint accuses the defendant of negligence and carelessness for failing to completely seal off the plaintiff’s roof prior to applying the molten hot roofing tar onto the surface, failing to plug and unplug the electrical cord for the defendant’s drill, and placing the plaintiff in a dangerous work area that the defendant created and controlled.

As a result of her injuries, the suit claims, Cuevas has been unable to carry out her daily chores, duties and occupations, and she has suffered physical pain, aches, mental anguish and humiliation, inconveniences, and a loss of life’s pleasures.

Cuevas seeks compensatory judgment in excess of the arbitrational limits, or $50,000 in state court.

In addition to the personal injury claim, the lawsuit contains a property damage count in which Cuevas claims the roofing work performed by the defendant was not performed in a “good and workmanlike manner,” and was “insufficient to reliably preclude further moisture infiltration in areas where the work was performed.”

Based on this allegation, the plaintiff claims that the defendant breached its contract to replace the plaintiff’s existing roof with a new roof.

For the property damage count, the plaintiff also seeks judgment in excess of the arbitration limits.


The case ID number is 121004244. 

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