Insurer sues Carrier and Sears over faulty furnace

Andrea Dearden Jan. 14, 2011, 3:43am

The insurance carrier for a Marissa couple is suing the maker and seller of a furnace that allegedly caused $221,000 worth of damage to their home.

Horse Prairie Mutual Insurance Company, on behalf of Amos and Deborah Harris, filed a lawsuit Dec. 20 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Carrier Corporation, Sears Holding Corporation and A.O. Smith Electrical Products Company.

According to the complaint, in the fall of 2007 the Harrises bought a Carrier furnace from Sears Holding Company in the fall of 2007 and had it installed in their Main Street home. In December 2008, the couple says the furnace stopped working because of a faulty blower motor.

The Harrises say the design of the motor fan was such that it allowed the blades to catch and stop moving. In turn, the Harrises claim, the failure of the furnace caused the water pipes in the house to freeze and rupture. The result was extensive water damage to the Harris' home estimated at more than $221,000.

Horse Prairie Mutual Insurance carried the policy on the Harris' home and paid for the damage caused by the defective furnace. In an attempt to collect the damages, Horse Prairie is suing Carrier Corporation for manufacturing a defective furnace, Sears Holding Corporation for selling a defective furnace and A.O. Smith Electrical Products for installing a defective fan motor.

All of the defendants are accused of breaching a warranty. Sears Holding is also accused of tampering with evidence by removing the furnace after the blower motor failed.

Horse Prairie is asking for restitution of more than $221,000 - what it paid in policy benefits. The insurance company is represented by the law firm of Andre & Diokno, of Bensenville.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case no. 10-L-657

More News