Stutman Law Uses a Furnace to Fire Up a Jury and Obtain a $845,000.00 Verdict

On November 13, 2023, Stutman Law attorneys Daniel Hogan and Jonathan B. Acklen prevailed again at trial when a Lexington, Kentucky jury awarded $845,000 to their client, a national property insurer. The verdict was rendered against Defendant, Fayette Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc., whose negligent conduct caused a catastrophic fire inside a residential home in Lexington.  After a three-day trial, the jury deliberated for just two hours and returned a verdict, awarding Stutman Law’s client 100% of its damages.

Throughout the course of the three-day trial, Attorneys Hogan and Acklen presented evidence to the jury which showed that Fayette Heating had performed preventative maintenance work on a furnace inside the basement of a Lexington home and created a fire hazard inside the furnace by mishandling a safety device known as a high limit switch. To explain this hazard and how it resulted in a fire, they presented testimonial evidence from lay witnesses and fire department personnel and played video surveillance footage for the jury.  In addition, Attorneys Hogan and Acklen brought the furnace into the courtroom and had their expert witnesses meticulously disassemble the furnace before the jury to show how Fayette Heating mishandled the high limit switch and created a hazard that caused the fire. Fayette Heating argued that the fire did not originate inside the furnace and its employees properly inspected the furnace. Through effective cross-examination of Fayette Heating’s employees and expert, Attorneys Hogan and Acklen were able to discredit these arguments.

Additionally, principles of fire dynamics and the engineering behind the operation of the furnace were thoroughly explained to the jury by Attorneys Hogan and Acklen and their experts. This evidence scientifically established that the fire started inside the furnace as a result of Fayette Heating’s negligence. Attorneys Hogan and Acklen successfully argued that despite its attempts to avoid taking responsibility for its actions, Fayette Heating was at fault and solely responsible for the fire and resultant damages. Ultimately, the jury found Fayette Heating liable for failing to properly service the furnace and creating a hazardous condition that caused the fire. As a result, the jury awarded Stutman Law’s client $845,000.00 for the amounts it paid to repair the damages caused to its insureds.