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Product Liability - Heating Pad Causing House Fire

Kaz heating pad lawsuit

Craig Evezich sued Kaz, a company selling heating pads manufactured in China, but branded with the “Kaz” tradename. It was alleged that the heating pad started a fire which burned a historical home in Anacortes to the ground.

 

During the case, Judge Martinez, of the United States District Court of the Western District of Washington, granted a motion brought by Craig to find that Kaz had failed to produce documents the Court had ordered it to produce. As a result, the Court ordered three remedies:

  1. Kaz was prohibited at trial from offering any evidence as to how the heating pad was designed or constructed;

  2. Kaz was prohibited at trial from cross-examining the plaintiff’s expert witness as to how the heating pad was designed or constructed, and,

  3. The jury would be instructed to infer from Kaz’s violation of the Court’s order that the documents it failed to produce would have been favorable to the Craig's client and unfavorable to Kaz.

The Court then further ordered, as a result of Kaz’s violation of the Court's order, that it pay to Craig's client the Attorneys Fees it incurred as a result of Kaz not producing the documents the Court ordered it to produce and that an adverse evidence presumption would be part of the jury's instructions (“The defendants has failed to produce evidence contrary to this Court’s order; thus, you may presume that the evidence, if presented, would be adverse to the defendants.”).

 

Such an order is exceedingly rare and entirely changes the tenor of the litigation.  The case settled for a confidential sum shortly after the Court's ruling. 

You can review a copy of the Court’s Order here

Wildfire Litigation - 320 Acres And 61 Homes Destroyed = $60,000,000 Settlement

Multi-million dollar settlement in Taylor Bridge Wildfire litigation:

In 2012, a fire started near Cle Elum, Washington, which eventually destroyed thousands of acres of forest, hundreds of outbuildings, and 61 homes.  It resulted in one of the largest wildlife damage lawsuits ever in the State of Washington.

Craig represented numerous clients that had suffered losses as a result of the fire. He sued the general contractors, its welding sub-contractor, and the owner of the property where the work was performed, The State of Washington. 

The fire was alleged to have been started by either a welding spark of a saw cutting rebar, during hours that no such work was to be done due to the risk of fire.  

Craig was appointed by Judge Bruce E. Heller to the Plaintiff’s Trial Committee, a group representing multiple property owners, insurers and municipal entities. You can review a copy of the Court’s Trial Plan here.

 

The lawsuit was successfully settled, regarding all of the lawsuits filed, for $59,7500.00.

Product Liability - Heater causing House Fire

$375,000 SCI heater jury verdict:

Craig Evezich sued SCI and Suarez, a conglomeration of companies that had heaters manufactured in China and then branded with the SCI/Suarez tradename. The heater caused a fire which substantially damaged a home in Issaquah, Washington.

 

After a four-day jury trial, the jury concluded, unanimously and within 1 ½ hours, that the heater was not reasonably safe and caused the fire and awarded our client over $375,000 which was almost 100% of its damages. You can read a copy of the jury's verdict and the judgment here

$227,158 paid by defendant after default judgment obtained against defendant, but after vacation of default appealed:

Evezich Law Offices served a Summons and Complaint upon the defendant. The defendant’s insurer’s claims representative contacted Craig and asked what he intended to do with the unfiled Summons and Complaint. Craig told him that if the insurance company wasn't going to settle the case, he would get the Summons and Complaint filed with the Court.

The Summons and Complaint was filed with the Court and a default obtained when no one appeared on behalf of the defendant. A default judgment was then obtained for $226,793. A year elapsed and then the defendant sought to have the default and default judgment vacated. Despite giving no reason why no one had appeared for the defendant, the Thurston County Superior Court vacated the default and default judgment.

Craig’s client appealed and cited in it’s opening brief that the trial court had erred in vacating the default and default judgment as the defendant had never appeared in the lawsuit, it waited over a year to seek vacation, had failed to identify the reasons why it did not respond to the Summons and Complaint, and failed to demonstrate why it was entitled to vacation of the default.

After all briefs were exchanged, the parties settled the case for the full value of the default judgment, $227,128 which included the total amount of the underlying judgment and all costs incurred during the appeal.

Defendant pays 100% of vacated default judgment

Product Liability - Vehicle Alleged To Have Caused Fire Destroying A Warehouse Worth $3.2 Million

Ford Motor Company litigation:

Craig sued Ford Motor Co. for a fire resulting in over $3,200,000 in damages to the Pacific Sheet Metal building. It was alleged that a defect in a Ford truck’s engine compartment malfunctioned and caused the fire.

 

Craig and his co-counsel, responded to a motion brought by Ford that the plaintiffs recovery should be limited to just the depreciated value of the property, not its full value. They argued that since the property had been replaced, their clients client should be entitled to the full replacement value of the property. The Court agreed and denied Ford’s motion. You can review a copy of the Court’s Order here. 

 

The case was tried to a jury, but a mistrial was declared after the jury was deadlocked. The parties reached a confidential settlement before the case was retried.

Negligence - City Of Longview Tree falling on Home

City of Longview - Arbitration Award for damages from tree falling on house:

Laura brought a lawsuit against the City of Longview when a tree branch, weighing 14 tons, fell directly on a home, causing substantial damage to the home and nearly killing the family that lived in the home. The matter was tried through arbitration and Laura received an award for 100% of the damages ($70,086.63) of the damages sought. You can review a copy of the Arbitrator’s Award here.

Wrongful death - Child Drowning in Hot Tub

Wrongful death Claim result from baby drowning in a hot tub

A baby crawled into an uncovered hot tub and drowned.  Craig represented the parents and estate of the baby and brought a wrongful death against the people who owned the hot tub and left it open.  The case was settled for a confidential sum and the settlement funds were placed in an annuity which provided for another sibling to go to college.

Landlord/Tenant - Tenant Negligence

Fire caused by tenant

A tenant caused a fire which significantly damaged a landlord’s apartment. The tenants claimed that they were “implied co-insureds” of the landlord and, thus, not liable for the fire. The tenants filed a motion seeking to hold that they were the landlord’s “implied co-insured. Craig filed a cross-motion which the Court granted by holding that the tenants were not the landlord’s implied co-insured and the case could go forward. The case settled soon thereafter. You can read a copy of the Court’s Order here.

Wildfire - Homes Destroyed by Fire

Colockum Tarps Fire

In 2013, a cherry grower in eastern Washington failed to properly install an irrigation pump which was then alleged to have caused a fire damaging 80,000 acres. Craig Evezich sued the farmer and recovered nearly all of his client's damages.

 

You can review a copy of the article from The Wenatchee World here.

RV Fires - Norcold Refrigerator Causes RV Fire

Norcold and Dometic RV appliance Fires

Craig has been involved in numerous fires alleged to have started in Norcold or Dometic RV refrigerators. He was briefly interviewed by Forbes regarding the fires. You can review the Forbes article here.

Product Liability - Microwave Causes House Fire

Electrolux/Sears/KCD microwave fire:

Craig sued Electrolux and Sears resulting from a fire which was caused by a microwave manufactured overseas which bore Electrolux’s tradename, and was sold by Sears. Upon Craig’s Motion, the Court dismissed all of the defendants’ defenses and found, without a trial, that the microwave had caused the fire. A short trial then occurred in which Craig’s client was awarded 100% of its damages. You can review a copy of the Court’s Order here.

Product Liability - Whirlpool Refrigerator Causes House Fire

Whirlpool refrigerator case:

Craig sued Whirlpool regarding an alleged defect in a Whirlpool refrigerator which was alleged to have caused a fire resulting in significant damage to a newly-built home. During the lawsuit, Whirlpool alleged multiple defenses, of which it failed to present any evidence in support.  Craig brought a motion to dismiss five of the most meaningful defenses, including the defense that the homeowner had abused or misused the refrigerator. The Court agreed with Craig’s motion and dismissed all five of the defendants'' defenses.  You can review a copy of the Court’ Order here.

 

The case settled for a confidential sum shortly thereafter. 

Published Decision - Manufacturers' Trade Names Result In Liability

Farmers v. Waxman

Craig obtained a default judgment against a company that sold, but did not manufacture, a product. The manufacturer convinced the trial court to vacate the default. Craig appealed the matter to the Washington State Court of Appeals which ruled in Craig's client's favor and reinstated the default judgment. The Court held that the defendant-seller, was a "manufacturer" and had the liability of a manufacturer, despite not manufacturing it, because it put its trade name on the product.

 

The decision was published at 132 Wn. App. 142 (Div. I 2006) and you can read it here.

$1,000,000 Fire caused by spontaneous heating

Craig sued a painting company which he alleged burned a house to the ground due to oily rags being left at the home.  The oily rags spontaneously heated and caused the fire. Craig sued the painters and recovered $1,000,000.

Contractor Negligence - Spontaneous Heating of Rag Causes House Fire

 

We are very proud of the results of these cases. However, please understand that they are not a guarantee regarding your case.  

Your case's results may vary.   

 

Please call or meet with us for a free evaluation regarding your case.