Landlord sues lounge for allowing fire to break out

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Dec. 2, 2009, 12:46pm

GALVESTON – The owner of a commercial center in League City is suing one of his tenants after a fire destroyed the defendant's business.

Rudy H. Theobald's lawsuit accuses April Aden of not taking any precautionary measures to prevent the blaze that consumed The Blue Dolphin Lounge, stating the alleged negligence is a breach of contract.

"The defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff to properly maintain and conduct business in a manner that would not cause damage to the structure," the original petition says.

The case was filed Nov. 24 in Galveston County District Court.

According to court papers, both parties entered a business lease on Nov. 22, 2004.

One of the clauses states that the defendant, who is doing business as The Blue Dolphin Lounge, must maintain the property in a sufficient manner as well as indemnify the plaintiff, who is doing business as Interior Etc., for any damage to it during her occupancy.

An electrical fire broke out at The Blue Dolphin Lounge on the morning of April 25, 2008.

Subsequent investigations determined that the fire originated at the base of the northwest wall of The Blue Dolphin Lounge where the electrical cord to a keg cooler was located, the suit says.

It further explains that the keg cooler was wrongly positioned on top of the cord, leading to the blaze.

"This caused resistive heating and eventual catastrophic failure of the electrical cord," the suit says.

"All available evidence indicated that the fire was caused by the electrical catastrophic failure of the flexible cord to the keg cooler.

"As a matter of fact, all other possible causes of the fire were eliminated."

The plaintiff says a distinct "V" burn pattern visible at the site of the keg cooler marked where the fire began and indicated that part of the establishment as "where the greatest and longest burning occurred."

In the end, The Blue Dolphin Lounge sustained extensive fire, smoke and water damage.

The plaintiff ultimately accuses the defendant of failing to compensate for the fire.

"Thus far, the plaintiff has failed to comply with the indemnity provisions," the suit states.

"The plaintiff has been forced to repair its property at its own expense."

Theobald seeks unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial.

Waco attorney Dan N. MacLemore is representing the plaintiff, and Galveston County 56th District Court Judge Lonnie Cox is presiding over the case.

Case No. 09CV2169

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