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  1. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    SC
    Posts
    20,677
    Originally posted by operator
    Originally posted by bootlen
    Please don't celebrate stupidity in the courts. It costs everybody money (except you) and you end up with a bad rep.
    You mean like getting burned by hot coffee
    ================================================== ==========

    Just one of many examples.
    No reserve. No retreat. No regrets.

    For those who have fought for it, freedom has a sweetness the protected will never know.

    http://www.airwarvietnam.com/16thSOSGunners2.jpg

    Proud member of KA Club

  2. #15
    Just thought I'd post some more facts on this case, to see if I can't head off some of these anti-attorney comments.

    1) The deceased apparently did not turn off the main power switch (if true, undoubtedly that was negligence on his part);

    2) The blower door switch had apparently malfunctioned on multiple occasions, and was unable to repaired;

    3) Arguably, the repeated failures of the blower door switch makes the furnace itself defective, it would be interesting to know if Goodman had knowledge of problems with this switch;

    4) The service company told the homeowners to bypass the switch to avoid frequent furnace cut outs;

    5) The homeowners apparently did;

    5) The deceased did not know about the bypassed switch;

    6) I am uncertain about the presence/absence of a ground.

    In sum, the deceased undoubtedly contributed to the accident if he did not turn off the main power switch. However, the inquiry does not end there. The switch is obviously there to provide a back up level of protection, which it did not do.

    If my investigation reveals that Goodman did not manufacture a defective product, Goodman will no longer be involved in the lawsuit, but at this stage I owe it to this young man's family to thoroughly check out the circumstances of this accident.

    I appreciate all responses to this thread, even the ones that are "anti-lawyer", because in any case it gives me a sense of the general impression of these facts (albeit among professionals) and it will help me strengthen my case presentation (if it gets that far).

    Thanks,

    Bob Daley

    P.S. I don't handle paperclip cases. Now if it were a screwdriver or icepick....

  3. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Ft Worth Tx ( North Richland Hills)
    Posts
    2,143
    Sorry I can't be of much help with this case. However, if your firm ever decides to take on clients who were the victims of on-line traumatization though excessive verbal abuse, I do have some recent experience with those type cases.
    How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?

  4. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    SC
    Posts
    20,677
    Aw, buck up, OD. You hold your own pretty well here.
    No reserve. No retreat. No regrets.

    For those who have fought for it, freedom has a sweetness the protected will never know.

    http://www.airwarvietnam.com/16thSOSGunners2.jpg

    Proud member of KA Club

  5. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Dallas TX
    Posts
    2,216
    If the home owner did the bypass job then they if any one is neglegant. They are going to say well the company told us to and that company is going to end up having some responsibility as well. That is exactly why no trouble shooting over the phone should ever be done.

  6. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Derby City
    Posts
    3,958
    You know a good lad with a strong opinion couldn't this up! I agree with all, that any loss of life unnecessarily is tragic, regardless of the circumstances. As a group I would venture to say, "there but for the grace of God, go I." As stupid as the situation is, in retrospect we have probably all had close calls. I would like to address the latest points by the attorney:
    1. Stupid, for not throwing main disconnect. A LARGE responsibility on the part of the deceased.
    2. Unable to be repaired? this don't quite fly, since in the very next statement:
    3. "repeated failures" of the blower door switch begs the question: wasn't it "repaired" earlier, multiple times?
    4. service company "told" the HO to bypass the switch, so they did???!!! (there's that stupid part again.)
    5. refer to #4 above.
    6. first part: my first question would be: was a permit taken out and was the installation inspected? I believe the absence of a ground would have shown itself at an earlier date.
    second part: I'm no attorney, but if the switch was the problem, shouldn't you be going after the switch manufacturer? Since the unit was "altered" I would be talking long and hard to who altered it. (wait, that was the HO!!)
    third part: never let it be said that "facts (albeit amoung professionals)" fot in the way of a good lawsuit!!

    In summary, yer honor, I was down in McGinty's pub the night in question, and don't remember seeing a thing! That's me honest to God truth. May I be excused?


  7. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    1,285

    From the National Fuel Gas Code

    Qualified Agency: Any individual, firm, corporation, or company that either in person or through a representative is engaged in and responsible for (a) the installation, testing, or replacement of gas piping or (b) the connection, installation, testing, repair, or servicing of equipment; that is experienced in such work; that is familiar with all precautions required; and that has complied with all the requirements of the authority having jurisdiction.

    Chapter 4 General

    4.1 Qualified Agency. Installation, testing, and replacement of gas piping, gas utilization equipment, or accessories, and repair and servicing of equipment, shall be performed only by a qualified agency.

    Annex H shows the inspection procedure REQUIRED before servicing a piece of equipment is allowed. This was not followed, either, because the switch is a safety device that would have been inspected and discovered, during the inspection, before the filter was accessed.


    Noel

    PS, I don't see a grey area here. Proper procedures were not followed twice; when the switch failed, and when the filter was serviced.

  8. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    1,214
    Sue the employer for not properly training the dead tech
    thehumid1-------I live in NJ, a state where it's free to come in but you have to pay to leave!

  9. #22
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    6,316
    Bob I will not bash you as a lawyer even though I don't like product liability case’s. This type of case is why everything in this country is so expensive. It weren't for product liability sue everyone involved in the manufacturing process mentality we would all be flying piper cubs to work.

    Now to your question Goodman has no liability here they built a product with required safeties. These door switches can be problematic on any furnace. the switch is not built by Goodman it is bought from a company that makes electrical products. If there were problems with the switch in the past it should have been replaced. It is possible to buy different switches to replace it with but then the company that replaces it with a different switch is subject to being sued because they altered it from its "UL" listed design.

    If the switch was bypassed that person and or company is liable. If the company just recommended the HO to bypass and the HO did it maybe the company has some liability if they have in writing the recommendation.

    If the HO bypassed the switch they killed this young man (their son) and that will be very hard to live with.

    If the furnace was originally installed improperly and an improper ground was at fault the original installer should have some culpability as well as the original electrical contractor if the wiring is not correct. For this you will need a good qualified electrical engineer to determine.

    Why was this young man changing the filter is this a vertical furnace in a basement or a closet. Was the young man a member of the household or an employee of a company performing service on the unit. It is very hard to envision how he could be electrocuted just changing a filter unless he like some else said grabbed the switch.

  10. #23
    When I mentioned grounding earlier I was thinking of an external filter. If he went into the blower compartment to retrieve a filter without turning off the power then grounded or not he put himself in danger.

    IMO the liability lays with whoever bypassed the door switch. Goodman's liability should be minimal, they built a safe product and had it tested and listed. The fact that the safety was bypassed by others is not Goodman's fault.

  11. #24
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    1,606
    Bootlen, how can you come to the conclusion the unfotunate guy was stupid? The info Bob has given was that he was changing a filter which should be S.O.P that is preached to everybody. The statement thus far is not as yet placing responsibility to Goodman or anyone. Bob is doing some discovery investigation to see what happened. What family member whether they intend to file suit or not doesn't want to know how the accident happened?
    I waited to post when I saw Bob post because I know what happens a lot to engineers that post in here let alone an atty.
    I'll say all that being I'm no fan of our now "legal" system being a big target and having been named on the end of frivolous lawsuits, sky hi Ins rates and atty fees for this and that.
    I'll bet I'm not the only one in here thats assisted on legal investigations. I am cautious of what I will get involved with. It worked out very well for a family last yr when I was going through an Apt complex from a hack job involving hundreds of units and on an impromptu random check of an apt's unit found the pvc vent fell apart and actually running and pumping flue gas out, little kids and all lived there.
    It also worked out for a Lennox dealer when I documented to the homeowners Atty the hi quality of installation and fair market value the ho got...no law suit and ho paid the Lennox dealer.
    "The Bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten"

  12. #25
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    3,400
    Originally posted by bob daley
    Just thought I'd post some more facts on this case, to see if I can't head off some of these anti-attorney comments.

    1) The deceased apparently did not turn off the main power switch (if true, undoubtedly that was negligence on his part);

    2) The blower door switch had apparently malfunctioned on multiple occasions, and was unable to repaired;

    3) Arguably, the repeated failures of the blower door switch makes the furnace itself defective, it would be interesting to know if Goodman had knowledge of problems with this switch;

    4) The service company told the homeowners to bypass the switch to avoid frequent furnace cut outs;

    5) The homeowners apparently did;

    5) The deceased did not know about the bypassed switch;

    6) I am uncertain about the presence/absence of a ground.

    In sum, the deceased undoubtedly contributed to the accident if he did not turn off the main power switch. However, the inquiry does not end there. The switch is obviously there to provide a back up level of protection, which it did not do.

    If my investigation reveals that Goodman did not manufacture a defective product, Goodman will no longer be involved in the lawsuit, but at this stage I owe it to this young man's family to thoroughly check out the circumstances of this accident.

    I appreciate all responses to this thread, even the ones that are "anti-lawyer", because in any case it gives me a sense of the general impression of these facts (albeit among professionals) and it will help me strengthen my case presentation (if it gets that far).

    Thanks,

    Bob Daley

    P.S. I don't handle paperclip cases. Now if it were a screwdriver or icepick....
    For some reason, electric furnaces have all of the covers screwed in place, with a separate designated filter access.
    Gas furnaces, which are not any less dangerous than electric, have easily removable doors, with a token filter rack inside. I am sure this feature has grown out of the outdated belief that the user could clean & adjust his own furnace. Older models had no interlock switch, and were simpler to maintain.

    Now, at first blush, an argument might be that an electric furnace runs on twice the voltage as a gas furnace, therefore electric heat is more dangerous.
    That sort of reasoning could be extended to an argument a .22 caliber handgun is half as large as a .44 caliber, so only the .44 needs a safety.

    If Goodman is in any way culpable, then the entire industry is just as guilty. All manufacturers use similar interlocks.
    All are easily bypassed.
    You may as well go after all, including Underwriters Laboratories, for requiring such a switch, rather than a redesign with separate filter door.

    If the switch was, in fact, unrepairable, then the furnace should have been taken out of service. New furnaces are available.
    I am certain that the switch, or a reasonable replacement, is still available.

    I am saddened by the death.
    But, let's look at who or whom might actually be at fault.

    1) The young man did not verify that power was off. (He was wrong, but, was there an external disconnect, properly installed according to code? Maybe the original installer has some liability. Also the inspector, if required.)

    2) The homeowner bypassed the safety switch. (obvious)

    3) A contractor told them to do so. (Hearsay. Did they record the conversation, or get it in writing?)

    (The presence or lack of a ground wire would not have prevented this death. If anything, a ground would complete the path. Electricity must have a place to go.)

    I hope the person that actually bypassed the switch has good insurance. He/she set a trap for the unsuspecting.
    If somebody told you to jump off a bridge...

    (By the way, my twin daughters both went to law school. One is teaching speech & debate in her old high school, and the other is waiting for the results of her bar exam. God has a sense of humor.)

  13. #26
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    3,400
    ALL furnaces should have a BIG label stating "NO USER SERVICABLE PARTS INSIDE."

    Way back when things were simple, furnaces could be cleaned, motors oiled, belts changed or tensioned by the homeowner. Nowadays, there really is no reason for a user to have access to the blower or burner compartment.

    The filter should not be part of the furnace, either.


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