American Family's suit against contractors, insulation company over fire payout settles

Amelia Flood Dec. 2, 2010, 10:28pm


An insurance company's suit against two contractors and an insulation company over a more than $250,000 fire claim it paid out is over.

In a letter dated Nov. 29, attorney Scott Bjorseth, who represents American Family Mutual Insurance Co., informed the court that his client had settled its case against Charles Gardner, Stan Hibbard and Thermal Concepts, an insulation company.

The case had been set for trial Monday at 9 a.m.

Details of the settlement were not included in the letter.

American Family was suing the two contractors and Thermal Concepts for damages in excess of $50,000 and other relief.

The insurance company claimed that Gardner and Hibbard failed to properly enclose a wood burning fireplace they installed in the home of two American Family policy holders, Rebecca and Kort Herman, and that they failed to install proper firestops in a chimney.

The couple's Edwardsville home caught fire Jan. 15, 2009, burning the home and the Hermans' personal property.

The insurance company totaled the losses at $269,802.77.

The insurer blamed the insulation company for the blaze as well, claiming that it allowed blow-in insulation material to spill into the Hermans' chimney.

The defendants denied the claims and argued that the Hermans' negligence was responsible for the blaze.

The defendants also filed counterclaims for contribution against one another, with the most recent filed against Thermal Concepts Nov. 22.

Madison County Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth presides.

Christopher Bortz represents Gardner and Hibbard.

James Wilke represents Thermal Concepts.

The case is Madison case number 09-L-1251.

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