General Electric agrees to $500K settlement with children injured after standing on oven door

By John O'Brien | Apr 17, 2014

BECKLEY – Two children who suffered burns when they stood on the door of a General Electric oven will receive nearly $500,000 from the company from a recently approved settlement.

On April 14, U.S. District Judge Irene C. Berger approved a company between GE and the Tharp family, which filed suit in Greenbrier County Circuit Court in early 2013. The case was later removed to federal court in Beckley.

Berger had denied the defendant’s motion to dismiss in June.

“The Court has reviewed the First Amended Complaint and finds that while the pleading can fairly be described as containing repetitive allegations, seemingly unnecessary detail and garrulous prose, the Court does not find that the pleading warrants the relief sought by Defendant,” Berger wrote when she denied the motion to dismiss.

“Here, Plaintiff’s complaint is arguably longer than may be necessary for the asserted claims. However, the pleading is not a per se violation of Rule 8(a) because it is 22 pages.”

A petition to approve the settlement filed in January shows General Electric’s insurer agreed to pay $500,000. With the exception of $10,000 for mother Amanda and attorneys fees, the rest will go to children Nathan and Patrick to compensate them for their injuries.

Nathan Tharp incurred approximately $70,000 in medical bills, while Patrick Tharp incurred approximately $5,000.

What is left from the settlement will be placed into trusts for the two.

The injuries occurred on New Year’s Eve 2010. The children’s father was cooking noodles on a stovetop when either one or both of them put weight on an open oven door, causing the range to tip forward.

As it did, the noodles pot spilled forward, and the children were injured by boiling hot water.

The plaintiffs alleged the range was not equipped with a properly installed anti-tip device and presented an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death to small children.

According to the petition, Nathan Tharp, who was one year, nine months old at the time, suffered burns to nearly one-quarter of his body. Patrick was three years old at the time.

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