$500,000: Smoke Detectors Fail Resulting In Death

CASE DESCRIPTION: A fire broke out from a table lamp in the plaintiffs’ rented home. The smoke detectors in the residence failed to warn the occupants resulting in the death of the father and one of the children in the household. Plaintiffs brought suit against the owners of the home on the ground of dangerous condition of defendant’s premises.

RESULT: $500,000.00 total settlement.

The defendants owned the home, which the plaintiffs rented. Plaintiffs had rented the home for nearly five years. On December 22, 1997, a fire broke out in the premises. The fire department concluded that a table lamp owned by the plaintiffs caused the fire. The smoke detectors in the home failed to operate, giving plaintiffs inadequate warning of the fire. Aktham “Salim” A. and Farris A. died of smoke inhalation. The other family members received minor injuries escaping the blaze.

The plaintiffs argued that the smoke detectors did not work, which constituted a dangerous condition of defendant’s premises. However, the defense replied that a lamp owned by the plaintiffs was the cause of the fire and that maintenance of the smoke detectors was the responsibility of the plaintiffs. In addition the defense pointed out that the plaintiffs, who had lived in that home for several years, never gave the defendants notice regarding the smoke detectors being out of operation.

TYPE OF CASE: Wrongful death of husband and son

INJURIES: Salim and Farris A. died as a result of smoke inhalation.

DATE & LOCATION OF INCIDENT: On 12/22/97 on La Tierra Circle, in the City of Fountain Valley, California.

PLAINTIFF’S AGE: Samar A. — 44 years at time of incident.
Sana A. — 19 years at time of incident.
Fayez A. — 14 years at time of incident.

Decedent Aktham “Salim” A. — 43 at the time of his death.
Decedent — Farris A. — 15 at time of his death.

OCCUPATION: Decedent Salim A. — worked with his wife at a family run restaurant.

For Plaintiff — Samar A., Sana A. & Fayez A., a Minor, by and Through His Guardian Ad Litem, Samar A.

Charles A. Kittrell
For Defendant — Dorothy B. and Dorothy H. Trust

DEFENDANT INSURANCE CO.: Farmers Insurance Exchange.