Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau Apr. 23, 2013, 11:39am

SHERMAN - A Denton County couple has filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer of their home’s steel tubing claiming that when lightning struck near their home the tubing failed and allowed propane gas to escape, ignite and cause a fire.

State Farm Lloyds Insurance Co., as subrogee of Paul and Paula Muller, filed suit against TiteFlex Corp. and Gastite Division on Feb. 25 in Denton County District Court. The defendants removed the case to the Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division on April 15.

The Muller family home, located in Denton County, was possibly hit by lightning on May 30, 2012. According to the lawsuit, a fire spread through a wall cavity into the attic space resulting in significant fire damage to the home. The plaintiffs claim that the property suffered the damage when the Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing located in a wall cavity of the home failed.

Allegedly the electrical charge produced by the lightning strike traveled into the home and the electrical charge arced across the thin-walled CSST, causing it to fail and rupture. The failure of the CSST allowed propane gas to escape and ignite, causing the fire and damage.

The defendants are accused of negligence, failure to warn, strict liability, and breach of express and implied warranty. The lawsuit argues that the CSST was prone to fail, was defective and unreasonably dangerous and that the defendants failed to warn the public and consumers of the associated failures and dangers.

The lawsuit is seeking an award of damages for $132,626.23, plus interest, attorney’s fees, and court costs.

The plaintiffs are represented by N. Scott Carpenter and Craig M. Schumacher of Carpenter & Schumacher P.C. in Plano.

U.S. District Judge Richard A. Schell is assigned to the case.

Case No. 4:13-cv-00219

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