Insurance Company Loses Ark. Lawsuit Against Trailer Manufacturer

November 10, 2005

The Arkansas Court of Appeals ordered the full dismissal of a lawsuit filed by an insurance company that paid a claim after a mobile home caught fire.

Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Co. had claimed that Fleetwood Homes of Tennessee was responsible for the Feb. 7, 2003, fire at Beebe.

White County Circuit Judge William P. Mills had dismissed the case but left Nationwide the option of filing suit again.

The Court of Appeals said Nationwide could not prove its case and that the lawsuit should be dismissed entirely.

After the fire in Mark and Amy Askins’ home, a certified fire investigator determined that a staple used to hang siding had pierced an electrical line and that heat generated at the breach likely caused the fire.

Nationwide paid on the Askins’ insurance claim and sued Fleetwood, alleging products liability and negligence.

Fleetwood successfully argued that Nationwide failed to eliminate other possible ignition sources and that West, the insurance company’s expert, was not an electrical engineer or an electrician.

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