On June 8, 2014, an electrically heated blanket that was marketed and sold by JCPenney caught fire and caused the death of Jack D. Snyder and caused injury and damage to Lisa A. Pyle and Trudy Snyder, according to a complaint filed May 18 in Marshall Circuit Court.
Pyle and Trudy Snyder claim the blanket was defective and that the product would not have caught fire unless it was negligently designed or manufactured.
As a result of the fire, the plaintiffs sustained loss and damage to their real property, loss of use and were annoyed, aggravated and inconvenienced, according to the suit.
The plaintiffs claim at the time the blanket was manufactured, there were known potential failure modes in the product that may cause a fire and there were known potential conditions or circumstances of use of the product that may cause a fire.
For more than 10 years prior to the manufacture and sale of the electric blanket, JCPenney had been receiving notice that its electric blankets and blankets similar to its blankets were causing fires, according to the suit.
The plaintiffs claim JCPenney was negligent in that after it had been receiving notice, it continued to sell the products.
JCPenney was also negligent in that it continued to sell the products without change to the safety circuit technology, according to the suit.
The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. They are being represented by Jonathan E. Turak of Gold, Khorey & Turak LC; and George E. McLaughlin of Warshauer-McLaughlin Law Group PC.
Marshall Circuit Court case number: 16-C-80