Lawsuit claims air conditioning unit caused fatal fire

Michelle Massey Apr. 23, 2010, 4:25am

A Louisiana family claims that defects in their mobile home's air conditioning unit caused a fire that killed two of their children.

Elizabeth Johnson, individually and on behalf of Devontre Johnson and Lashaun Johnson, individually and on behalf of Dayasia Benion, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Samsung Electronics America Inc., General Electric Co., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Wal-Mart Louisiana LLC. The lawsuit was filed April 20 in the New Orleans federal court of the Eastern District of Louisiana.

The fire erupted in their mobile home on May 21, 2009, when the plaintiffs were sleeping, the suit claims.

They claim the fire originated in and was caused by an air conditioning unit.

According to the suit, the air conditioning unit was defective and in an unreasonably dangerous condition. The plaintiffs argue that the defendants were aware of the potential for this model to catch fire. Defendants are accused of failing to provide appropriate warning or notice to consumer who had purchased this model and also accused of failing to take appropriate steps to issue a recall.

The plaintiffs are seeking damages for the decedents' medical expenses, pain, suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress and fear of impending death. The plaintiffs are asking for an additional award of damages for funeral expenses, loss of love, affection, society and support, mental pain, suffering and distress, loss of earnings, loss of earning capacity, disfigurement and bystander damages.

New Orleans attorney Scott E. Silbert of Silbert & Garon L.L.P is representing the Johnsons. Jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Stanwood R. Duval Jr. is assigned to the case.

Case No 2:10cv01146

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