Shop Vac fire case settles, had been set for trial Monday

Amelia Flood Dec. 3, 2010, 5:20am


A Madison County couple's suit involving burn injuries allegedly caused by a Shop Vac, has settled.

The suit brought against Shop Vac Inc. by plaintiffs Charles and Debra Asperger was set for trial Monday at 9 a.m. before Madison County Circuit Judge Daniel Stack.

The couple claimed that Shop Vac manufactured a vacuum that would ignite fumes, did not warn Charles Asperger of the danger and that the company did not install a device to prevent the ignition in the vacuum before selling it to the public.

As a result, while Charles Asperger was using the vacuum in his Edwardsville garage, the machine ignited fumes, causing a fire, the plaintiffs alleged.

That fire destroyed the Aspergers' garage and home and left Charles Asperger with burns over 50 percent of his body.

Debra Asperger claims to have lost her husband's company.

The couple's suit sought damages in excess of $50,000 per count, $676,819.79 and other relief.

The $679,819.79 was for the loss of the couple's home and possessions.

The Aspergers' insurer, Pekin Insurance Co., had also filed to intervene in the case.

The insurance company sought to recover over $400,000 it paid out in the Aspergers' insurance claim related to the fire.

Shop Vac denied the claims as did its co-defendant in the suit, Sears Holding Company, doing business as K-Mart.

The case was taken to federal court in November 2009 before it was remanded back to Madison County a month later.

Sears was dismissed from the case July 25, 2008.

Pekin intervened in June 2009.

The parties continued at least one trial of the suit earlier this year.

The parties went to mediation in September.

The settlement was announced at a case management conference Nov. 19, although the parties have not yet submitted settlement documents.

They were given 30 days to do so.

Stack took over the case in August when he switched dockets with Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder.

Stack retires Friday.

Bob Perica represents the Aspergers.

Theodore MacDonald represents Shop Vac.

John Cunningham represents Pekin.

The case is Madison case number 07-L-855.

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