Tenn. Man Says Wife Filed Suit in his Name to Collect from Fire

August 16, 2007

A Dyersburg, Tenn. man says his wife improperly included his name on a lawsuit filed against a textile mill that caught fire, falsely claiming that smoke from the blaze damaged their home, killed their pets and harmed the family’s health.

Chad Kindle said he first learned of the lawsuit when he saw his name listed in the State Gazette among seven people seeking damages from the fire that destroyed the Dyersburg Fabrics plant July 22.

The suit, filed by Jackson attorney Lisa June Cox, seeks $10 million for each plaintiff in punitive damages and $1 million each for compensatory damages. They are also asking for $100,000 each for their spouses.

Kindle’s wife, Amanda, and 2-year-old daughter Madison are also named as plaintiffs. Cox told The Jackson Sun when the suit was filed last week that her clients suffered respiratory problems and had pets who died from complications caused by smoke from chemicals burned by the fire.

“I ain’t sick or nothing, and no one in my family was sick from it, and not the dog and not the fish,” Chad Kindle told the Dyersburg newspaper.

“But they saw dollar signs,” Kindle said of his wife and mother-in-law, Pamela Pearson.

Cox said Tuesday that the contract giving her permission to represent the Kindles is signed with the names of the wife and the husband.

“I have (Chad Kindle’s) name on a medical authorization and I have his name on the contract,” Cox said. “As an attorney, you can’t leave a client’s name off. I was directed to put it on there. If I didn’t then I wouldn’t be doing my job.”

But Cox quickly responded to a complaint from the husband seeking to have his name removed from the lawsuit. The paperwork to do so has been filed in Dyer County Circuit Court.

Calls on Tuesday to Amanda Kindle were not immediately returned.

Fire officials say there were no chemicals in the part of the plant that caught fire, and that some chemicals stored in another building were untouched.

Cox has represented the Pearsons in two previous lawsuits in which they won financial judgments, including a traffic accident in which no injuries were reported.

“And even with that, they act like they’re injured,” Chad Kindle said. “It’s all about the money.”

Information from: State Gazette, http://www.stategazette.com

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