In 2015, Homampour Law Firm Attorney Arash Homampour tried a wrongful death and product liability case in Orange County Federal Court and obtained a $60 million (general damages only) verdict on behalf of a family when a mother/wife died in a house fire caused by a Sunbeam heater.
This was a very tough case in that it was admitted that a home space heater was used in a way where the warning to keep clothing 3 feet away was not complied with. The defense argued that the heater was safe when used properly, met all UL standards, the Consumer Product Safety Commission did not tell them to recall the product, and after selling 10 million of these radiant heaters there was no history of any other significant fires.
We established that the heater’s automatic safety switch would not work in a foreseeable misuse situation where clothing could get inadvertently closer than 3 feet in front of or touching the front lower grill of the heater and start a fire. We proved that the warnings did not tell the user not to leave the heater on while sleeping and did not tell the user that the auto safety switch would not always work. We uncovered that Sunbeam knew the safety device might not work and that consumers had no idea.
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