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ARTICLE ID 200531

$________ – PRODUCT LIABILITY – WRONGFUL DEATH OF MINOR CHILD – FIRE – SURVIVAL ACTION – FAILURE TO WARN – DESIGN DEFECT – PROFESSIONAL GRADE CURLING IRON WITHOUT AUTOMATIC SHUTOFF SWITCH SOLD TO CONSUMER RESULTS IN FATAL FIRE IN DECEDENT'S BEDROOM – EMOTIONAL DISTRESS OF THREE SIBLINGS – PTSD – DECEDENT SURVIVED BY PARENT – DECEDENT SURVIVED BY SIBLINGS – SEVERAL MINUTES PAIN AND SUFFERING.

Philadelphia County, PA

In this products liability wrongful death case, the plaintiff contended that the defendant manufacturer’s curling iron, which was sold to retailers for resale to the general public as well as sold professionally, was defectively designed because it did not contain a safety switch which would automatically shut off the curling iron when it became overly hot. The plaintiff also asserted that the retailer should not have sold this product to consumers. The curling iron was plugged into a power pack, which unlike a power switch, did not contain a circuit breaker that would shut down the power before the curling iron became dangerously hot, and the plaintiff also named the manufacturer of the power pack, contending that it should have placed warnings regarding the absence of this safety feature.

The evidence disclosed that the 7-year-old decedent child was using the curling iron in her room and that one of her siblings was in her room with her. The curling iron was left on flammable material and a fire erupted. The sibling was able to escape, but the decedent was trapped. The plaintiff’s forensic pathologist would have testified that the child experienced several minutes of severe conscious pain and suffering, during which time she suffered smoked inhalation as her lungs filled with smoke, as well as horrific burn injuries.

The minor decedent was survived by her parent mother. The decedent was survived by three siblings. The plaintiff further contended that the three siblings, age 3 years old, age 6 years old and age 13 years old, heard the horrific screams of the decedent and suffered severe emotional distress. These minor plaintiffs all underwent psychotherapy and were diagnosed with conditions that included PTSD and adjustment disorder. The plaintiff would have maintained that although they all experienced some improvement, some degree of the reaction from such a horrific event will continue permanently.

The projected lifetime future lost wages and earnings of the child, less self maintenance, would have been part of the survival claim. The plaintiff’s proofs would have reflected claimed economic damages that ranged from approximately $________ to approximately $________, depending upon factors such as the educational level attained. The plaintiff would have argued that since an older sister was attending college, it was likely that the decedent would have as well. The case settled prior to trial for a total of $________. The allocation among the plaintiffs and the amounts contributed by each defendant are undisclosed. This publication has been advised, however, that none of the cases were settled for "nuisance" amounts.

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