Stutman Law recently reached a $950,000 settlement in a case that was almost lost on the day of the fire. On a Saturday afternoon in June, firm founder Robert A. Stutman received a call from a client’s adjuster about a new loss that had occurred that same day. The initial report was bleak because the local fire marshal was planning to order the demolition of the fire damaged building due to safety concerns. Within minutes of receiving the call, Mr. Stutman formulated a game plan that would allow an investigation of the fire scene while ensuring that the scene was safe for investigators to examine. Stutman Law’s attorneys immediately contacted a local fire investigator who traveled to the fire scene and explained to the public fire officials how they could shore up the building so that it was safe to conduct a proper fire scene examination. The investigators retained by Stutman Law then worked with the local fire officials to identify the cause and origin of the fire.
The fire investigators were able to retrieve video surveillance tapes, which revealed the fire’s area of origin. The appropriate parties were placed on notice of a possible claim and a joint fire scene examination was conducted. The investigators retained by Stutman Law ultimately found that a power cord had been inadvertently left pinched beneath a piece of equipment when it was installed. Stutman Law filed suit against the company responsible for installing the piece of equipment. Approximately twenty depositions were taken, and Stutman Law’s attorneys were able to show that the equipment had never been moved or altered in any manner. The case settled before trial. As a result of the adjuster’s quick referral on the day of the fire, Stutman Law was able to snatch a victory from the jaws of defeat.