Metairie couple blames fire on faulty space heater

Michelle Massey Jun. 2, 2010, 8:49am

NEW ORLEANS-A Jefferson Parish couple claims a newly purchased ceramic space heater caused a fire in their home.

Elizabeth and Ronald Garris filed suit against the space heater's manufacturers, Pelonis Appliances and Midea USA, on May 26 in the federal court of New Orleans.

The fire happened Dec. 16, 2009 at the Garris' home on Carrollton Avenue in Metairie. Fire investigators determined the Pelonis/Midea space heater started the fire.

Elizabeth Garris suffered second and third degree burns to her hands, arms, torso and face. She claims the fire and her injuries have caused her to suffer from depression, emotional distress and mental anguish.

Garris argues the space heater was defective and unreasonably dangerous in design and construction and did not have adequate warnings. According to court documents, the heater is intended to shut off before reaching an unsafe temperature but failed to do so.

Elizabeth Garris is seeking damages for mental anguish, physical pain, disability, loss of enjoyment of life, medical expenses, loss of earning capacity, loss of society, disfigurement, loss of personal property, loss of household services, interest, costs and fees.
Ronald Garris is seeking damages for lost personal property, loss of services, loss of consortium and society due to his wife's disabling injuries.
New Orleans attorneys Michael R. Allweiss and James T. Busenlener of Lowe, Stein, Hoffman, Allweiss & Hauver are representing the plaintiffs.
A jury trial was requested.
U.S. District Judge Jay C. Zainey is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:10cv01569

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