Toaster oven destroys home, insurer seeks money paid on claim

Steve Gonzalez Jan. 23, 2008, 4:44am

Depositors Insurance Company filed suit against Hamilton Beach/Proctor-Silex in Madison County Circuit Court Jan. 17, alleging a toaster oven destroyed its customer's home.

According to the complaint, a fire occurred at Michael and Melissa Unger's home at 12530 Tree Line Drive in Highland on Jan. 23, 2006. The Ungers had purchased and maintained homeowner's coverage from Depositors, which included provisions for fire loss.

The insurance company alleges the fire originated within the toaster oven that was located on the Ungers kitchen counter.

"Immediately prior to the fire, the subject toaster oven remained in the same condition as it was when placed into the stream of commerce and when purchased, and was not altered in any way or at any time prior to the fire, other than normal use," the complaint states.

The insurance company claims it paid the Ungers' damage claim in the amount of $319,067.66 after a $1,000 deductible was paid.

"Pursuant to their payment, the plaintiff became subrogated to all rights of its insured in the amount of the damages as paid," the complaint states.

The insurance company claims the toaster oven was unreasonably dangerous and defective for reasonably anticipated use and manner as expected by the consumer.

It also claims that Hamilton Beach failed to provide any warnings of the imminent danger presented by the toaster oven, nor any warnings as to the danger or potential for fires.

Represented by Matt Zittel of Belleville and Stuart Brody of Chicago, Depositors Insurance is seeking a judgment of $422,000 plus costs.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder.

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