Ruth to preside over Madison house fire trial

Amelia Flood Apr. 8, 2010, 8:00am

Madison County Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth will open the trial of a suit over a Madison house fire that allegedly burned a neighboring property.

Plaintiff Leroy Latham alleges his neighbor's home caught fire and then burned down his due to bad rehabbing.

The trial is set to begin at 9 a.m.

The case is assigned to Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder, however Ruth is taking over the trial due to Crowder's schedule.

According to his complaint, Latham owned a home in the City of Madison in March 2006. The neighboring home was being renovated and was owned by defendant Yvett Osuegbu of Edwardsville.

On March 28, 2006, Osuegbu's property caught fire. The fire spread next door, completely destroying Latham's property.

According to his complaint filed in 2008, Latham lost the $50,000 home and $65,000 in personal property that it contained.

He contends that Osuegbu was negligent because she allowed flammable materials to be kept in a vacant building, failed to use or maintain fire alarms and used faulty electrical equipment.

His suit seeks damages of $115,000 and costs.

Osuegbu denies she is responsible for the damages.

An added defendant in the case, Adaeza Demolitio, was dismissed without prejudice by the plaintiff in February.

Latham is represented by Scott Bjorseth of Alton.

Osuegbu is represented by Joseph Bleyer of Marion.

The case is Madison case number 08-L-663.

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