PA man says improperly installed dryer vent caused fire

David Yates Sep. 25, 2007, 11:00am

Port Arthur resident Frederick Goenne and his insurance company, Allstate, say the fire that claimed his home was started in a faulty dryer vent, which was built by A&W Aluminum, also known as Windell Broussard Homes.

Goenne and Allstate are suing A&W Aluminum for the price of his home, $275,000, plus his insurance deductible. He filed his lawsuit Sept. 24 in the Jefferson County District Court.

According to the plaintiff's original petition, on Oct. 8, 2006, a fire damaged Goenne's residence, located at on Golfhill in Port Arthur. He claims the fire started at or in the dryer vent system that was designed and installed by A&W Aluminum.

"Defendant owed a duty of reasonably prudent care with respect to the installation of the venting system for the clothes dryer," the suit said. "Defendant breached this duty by failing to act as a reasonably prudent person would have under the same or similar circumstances."

In his suit, Goenne alleges A&W Aluminum committed the following acts of negligence: failing to design the dryer ventilation system properly; failing to install the dryer ventilation system in a good and workmanlike manner; and otherwise failing to use good care under the circumstances.

"These acts were performed by defendant and/or defendant's agents, employees, representatives and/or servants," the suit said. "Defendant's negligence as discussed herein was inherently undiscoverable. As such plaintiff's damages proximately caused thereby were objectively verifiable on or about Oct. 8, 2006. Consequently, the accrual of plaintiff's resulting causes of action was tolled accordingly."

Texas Lloyds, (Allstate) is a real party in interest, pursuant to its subrogation rights, and has filed this lawsuit in its insured's name. As part of this claim, Allstate also seeks recovery of its insured's deductible, the suit said.

The plaintiff is demanding a trial by jury and is represented by William Sebesta, attorney for the Doyen Sebesta law firm.

According to the firm's Web site, William T. "Bill" Sebesta is an experienced and accomplished trial lawyer whose practice emphasizes insurance subrogation. He has broad experience in large-loss subrogation, fire cause and origin litigation, products liability litigation, construction defect litigation, commercial litigation, personal injury, insurance defense, and insurance coverage/bad faith matters.

Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th Judicial District, will preside over the case.

Case No. D180-309

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