Survivor claims husband died from carbon monoxide poisoning in suit against Coleman

Kelly Holleran Jan. 23, 2012, 2:52am


A surviving wife has filed suit against the manufacturer of a propane tank, which she claims created a tank that allowed users to die from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Paula Underhill claims her recently deceased husband, Galen Underhill, and their son, Sean Underhill, were using a Coleman propane tank in a pop-up camper at 5850 State Route 4 in Alhambra on April 10, 2010. The tank, however, produced deadly amounts of carbon monoxide that killed Galen Underhill and caused severe injuries to his son, according to the complaint filed Jan. 10 in Madison County Circuit Court.

Because of Galen Underhill's death, his family members, including his wife, son and daughter, sustained economic damages and lost his society and companionship, the complaint says. In addition, they suffered mental anguish, the suit states.

Paula Underhill blames Coleman for causing her husband's death and her son's injuries, saying the company negligently failed to advise users of the risk of carbon monoxide from the heat, failed to warn against the use of a heater with restricted propane flow and failed to advise users of the amount of ventilation needed for proper operation of the heater.

The Powermate 5045, which was the heater in use at the time of the incident, produced amounts of carbon monoxide that were lethal when used in a predicted manner, according to the complaint.

In her complaint, Paula Underhill is seeking a judgment of more than $300,000, plus costs.

Gordon R. Broom and Daniel C. Lytle of HeplerBroom in Edwardsville will be representing her.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 12-L-44.

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