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N.C. jury decides for defendant in gas poisoning case

A North Carolina jury has ruled against the plaintiffs in a Greensboro wrongful death suit. The group of Forsyth County jurors ruled that a home-warranty company was not responsible for the carbon monoxide poisoning death of a local man in 2008. The man's mother had filed the wrongful death suit on his behalf.

Courtroom documents show the man and his female friend died in mid-November 2008 after they were suffocated by a carbon monoxide leak. The man's family alleged Old Republic Home Protection, the warranty company that covered the home, was negligent by failing to properly vet the air conditioning firm that repaired the man's house. The tenant had complained numerous times to his landlord about his furnace and air conditioning systems, according to testimony. The woman's family had filed a suit in local courts, though it was dismissed on summary judgment.

The plaintiff's attorneys argued the home warranty company had failed to thoroughly investigate the qualifications and abilities of the repair company in question, Windham Heating and Air Conditioning. That firm had been placed on probation by North Carolina inspectors in 2000. A more recent complaint on Oct. 17 should have tipped off the warranty group that the repair firm was not competent to perform regular maintenance work. The suit had sought nearly $14 million on behalf of the victim's three children.

Jurors decided the warranty company was not negligent in the man's death, nor was it negligent in hiring the repair firm. Attorneys for the repair company said their firm was among the highest-regarded licensees in the state because of its special qualifications.

Both victims' families intend to appeal the decisions.

These suffocation victims clearly trusted the air conditioning and home warranty companies to act in a safe and protective manner. It appears as though their trust may have been violated. If you or a loved one has suffered injury or death because of negligent home contractors, consider contacting a qualified local attorney. These professionals can help you get the money you deserve in your personal injury and wrongful death cases.

Source:  www.news-record.com, "Jury: Company did not cause Greensboro carbon monoxide deaths" Michael Hewlett Winston, May. 21, 2013

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