Hoping to recover some of the funds it paid to a policyholder, Tower Insurance of New York is suing Nederland resident Richard Patrick for allegedly starting a fire by smoking at a gas station.
The suit was filed Jan. 7 in Jefferson County District Court and also names as a defendant Hilda Middleton, the woman who lent Patrick her car.
According to the complaint, on Sept. 1, 2009, Patrick drove Middleton's Ford pickup to Dan's Food Mart, a gas station and convenience store located in Nederland. Tower Insurance was the property insurance carrier for Dan's Food Mart.
"At that time, Patrick negligently started a fire, which resulted in significant damage to (Dan's Food Mart), by lighting a cigarette that ignited and resulted in a fire," the suit states.
The suit accuses Patrick of negligently lighting a cigarette while pumping fuel and further blames Middleton of negligently entrusting her vehicle to him.
Tower Insurance seeks to recover $25,790.95 in actual damages, plus all court costs.
The company is represented by Dallas attorney Glenn Ingram of Downs and Stanford.
The case has been assigned to Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th District Court.
Case No. D189-080