Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Our client was a 27 year old lawyer who died as a result of exposure to lethal concentrations of carbon monoxide. Our client died at a cottage purchased by his father in September, 1996. Prior to purchase of the cottage, the defendant had been contracted to bring the vent system of a propane fired gravity floor furnace into compliance with applicable codes. The defendant, through its employees, replaced the exterior vertical stack of the vent system. No other work was performed by the defendant. The propane fired gravity floor furnace was the only appliance in the cottage which burned fuel in its operation. All other appliances (i.e., stove, water heater, etc.) were electric. Following our client’s death, it was determined that the vertical stack replaced by defendant failed to comply with NFPA-54(1992) Additionally, it was determined that the horizontal vent had a negative pitch which inhibits the ability of the furnace to vent combustion gases, including carbon monoxide. Lastly, it was determined that the basement in which the furnace operated lacked sufficient openings to supply adequate combustion and make-up air, leading to a probability of oxygen depletion in the cellar which in turn contributed to the formation of carbon monoxide. Our client relied on the defendant’s expertise in certifying that the system it had inspected and repaired was compliant with applicable codes and said reliance resulted in our client’s tragic death.
The case settled after suit but prior to trial for a confidential amount.