Family Files Lawsuit Against Housing Authority After Public Housing Death
A man who barely escaped a burning public housing complex died several days later in the hospital. His family has since filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Housing Authority stating that the building had failed. They have also named the building’s owner and the manufacturer of an air conditioning unit that ignited the blaze. The air conditioning unit was part of a 2018 recall. The company never reached out directly to commercial customers to conduct repairs.
The Housing Authority is blamed for failing to conduct an evacuation of the facility and for failing to maintain the air conditioning units. Emergency doors were propped open at the facility meaning that no alarm sounded when the exit was used.
The plaintiff was a visitor at the facility the night of the fire. He died of catastrophic smoke inhalation injuries.
Analyzing the recall
In 2018, Goodman units were recalled after they realized that incorrect electrical information led some installers to use undersized wiring and incorrect fuse and breaker parts, posing a serious fire hazard. Goodman announced the recall over their website, but never reached out to commercial customers who may not have known the recall existed in the first place. While offering to inspect, repair, or replace the units, no effort was made to remove all the units from residential and commercial dwelling spaces.
The law requires that all companies with an open recall publish a written letter describing the recall. It also requires that they contact customers within 60 days of the recall.
Are companies doing enough?
No. In fact, some companies don’t even announce the recall on their own websites. In other cases, customers are directed to follow links for more information that don’t go anyway. Best practices recommend companies issue statements on their website and over social media to inform the public that a product has an active recall. But some of the laws are managed by the state and most of the laws are managed by the federal government. Some states require manufacturers to reach out to customers within 60 days, and others don’t. Meanwhile, different rules may apply across different industries. Car and auto recalls have stricter rules than other consumer products. Children’s toys are often held up to higher standards as well.
Further, enforcement of these policies has been sporadic at best. One study showed that only 65% of companies had any information regarding an active recall on their website. So, companies are not doing enough to warn customers and it is resulting in preventable deaths, major property damage, and now avoidable lawsuits as well.
Talk to a Tampa Product Liability Lawyer
The Matassini Law Firm represents the interests of injured plaintiffs in product liability lawsuits. Call our Tampa personal injury lawyers today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.