25 Defendants Named In Lawsuit After 5 Children Die In Fire
Two years ago, a fire took the lives of five children. Today, a huge lawsuit has been filed against multiple parties related to an oscillating fan and an extension cord that seem to be at the heart of the issue. The lawsuit names Walmart, General Electric, Family Dollar, and dozens of others who might have been connected to the defective products. The owner of the daycare where the fire broke out is also among the named defendants. Fire inspectors found only one smoke detector in the attic of the daycare. The suit was filed days before the statute of limitations ran out on the case.
The ATF, which investigated the fire, traced it back to a defective extension cord. The fire was ruled accidental, and the daycare has since been torn down.
The plaintiffs believe that the extension cord’s insulation failed. An analysis of the fan revealed electrical arcing, which occurs when a circuit becomes overloaded and then overheats. Since the plaintiffs can’t be sure if the oscillating fan or the extension cord caused the fire, they have named both defendants in the lawsuit, merely to preserve their right to sue if further analysis of the products shows they were defective.
What do we know?
We know that either an oscillating fan or a defective extension cord is responsible for the fire which killed five children. We know that the owner of the daycare is liable because he failed to place enough smoke detectors in the daycare. It’s unlikely that the daycare owner has deep enough pockets to satisfy the needs of five wrongful death lawsuits. The families hope that the lawsuits against the manufacturers of the allegedly defective products will provide more compensation than a likely-bankrupt daycare operator.
The ATF seems sure that the extension cord was defective. If so, the company that manufactured the extension cord could be held liable for the deaths. If the extension cord was purchased at Walmart or Family Dollar, those companies could also be liable for the deaths.
Since the fatal fire, the local legislatures have been active passing new regulations on childcare facilities. Not only must childcare facilities have a specific number of smoke detectors, but the new laws can dictate where the smoke detectors are placed. The law also requires the smoke detectors to be interconnected, so that if one goes off, they all go off. Thus far, there are at least three pieces of proposed legislation in response to the incident.
In a personal injury trial, multiple defendants can be held liable for one incident so long as they contributed negligence. In this case, at least some of those defendants are likely to be dropped from the case as more information becomes available.
Talk to a Tampa Personal Injury Attorney
The Tampa personal injury attorneys at The Matassini Law Firm can help you and your family file a lawsuit against a negligent party. Call today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.