Monthly Archives: June 2016

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Verdict in Favor of Defendant Fire-Suppression System Manufacturer in Yacht Fire Case Affirmed

On May 26, 2016, the Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit affirmed a jury verdict in favor of the defendant in a products liability suit involving a 2011 fire that started in the engine room of a 67-foot wooden yacht. In Sudderth v. Mariner Elec. Co., 16-5 ( La. App. 5 Cir 05/26/16) the plaintiff filed suit against the manufacturer of an automatic fire-suppression system alleging that the system was defective, unreasonably dangerous in design, construction, and did not perform as advertised.…

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The Importance of the Product Defense Attorney at the Fire Scene: Part Three

Part 3 – Attendance at the Fire Scene: Investigation of the Area of Origin and Scene Wrap-Up The attendance of a product defense attorney at the fire scene can greatly assist in the defense of a fire loss. Of course, that benefit is only fully realized when an attorney is sufficiently prepared and takes a proactive role when at the scene. If a client chooses to send an attorney to a fire scene, the attorney should make the most of that opportunity and gather as…

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West Virginia Court Denies Petitioner’s Attempt to Use Advances in Fire Science and NFPA 921 to Obtain a New Trial After Murder Conviction

On June 2, 2016, the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia denied a petitioner’s habeas corpus petition challenging his 1995 first degree murder conviction. In Anstey v. Ballard, No. 15-0067, 2016 W. Va. LEXIS 428 (June 2, 2016), the petitioner asserted that he was entitled to a new trial because the advancement in fire science, specifically the application of NFPA 921, during the last 20 years constituted newly-discovered evidence resulting in a fundamental unfairness in his original trial. Evidence from the underlying trial…

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Eleventh Circuit Reverses Summary Judgment on Bad-Faith Claim Finding Sufficient Evidence to Demonstrate Insurance Company Should Have Known Experts’ Fire Cause Opinions Were Unreliable

On February 29, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit reversed a district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of an insurance company on a yacht owner’s bad-faith claim. In Atl. Specialty Ins. Co. v. Mr. Charlie Adventures, LLC, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 3619 (11th Cir. Ala. Feb. 29, 2016), a 40-foot yacht named “Mr. Charlie” was completely destroyed by a fire that started in its engine room. The owner filed a claim with Atlantic Specialty Insurance Company as it…

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