Man sues over father's carbon monoxide-caused death

By Kyla Asbury | Oct 24, 2013

CHARLESTON - A Charleston man is suing Risk Market after he claims it is responsible for his father's wrongful death.

Richard Risk was also named as a defendant in the suit.

Thomas Phelps and his father, Eugene R. Phelps Sr., rented a house located on MacCorkle Avenue S.E. from the defendants and included in the rental of the home were furnishings, including a stove and hot water heater, according to a complaint filed Sept. 23 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Thomas Phelps claims on Sept. 21, 2012, one of the appliances malfunctioned, causing a leak that resulted in the escape of carbon monoxide, which caused Eugene Phelps' death.

The appliances were faulty and there was no carbon monoxide detector in the house, according to the suit.

Thomas Phelps claims the landlord had a duty to maintain the rental premise in a habitable condition and failed to do so.

The defendants failed to place carbon monoxide detectors within the rental home, as required by law, and if the defendants had maintained the appliances in good working order and placed carbon monoxide detectors within the home, the tragic loss of Eugene Phelps' life could have been avoided, according to the suit.

Thomas Phelps is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. He is being represented by Katherine L. Dooley of the Dooley Law Firm PLLC.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge James C. Stucky.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 13-C-1798

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