Christina Stueve Hodges Jul. 25, 2013, 12:56pm

The manufacturer of fry vats used in McDonald’s restaurants is requesting St. Clair County Circuit Judge Robert LeChien dismiss an insurance company’s lawsuit against it for allegedly making fryers with a history of causing fires.

American Family Mutual Insurance Company claimed it paid $261,443 to a McDonald’s restaurant at 1610 W. Highway 50 in O’Fallon after one of its fryers caught on fire April 15, 2010.

The fryers, manufactured by defendants Frymaster, The Manitowoc Company and Manitowoc Food Services Company, had a history of causing fires, according to the May 23 complaint filed in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

Defendant Frymaster claims it was erroneously named “The Manitowoc Company” and “Manitowoc Food Service Companies” in its July 10 motion to dismiss.

Frymaster states the plaintiff’s complaint fails to plead facts sufficient to state a cause of action for negligence and strict product liability.

According to the motion to dismiss, the plaintiff’s claim for strict product liability is barred by Illinois’ statute. The plaintiff failed to attach a certified copy of its policy of insurance or contract to establish it is the proper party in the case and has the capacity to sue, the motion states.

The motion to dismiss also states the plaintiff’s complaint fails to separate its alleged causes of action into distinct counts and claims against individual defendants and does not contain a prayer for relief.

Despite their knowledge of the increased risk of fires, the defendants hid the dangers from McDonald’s restaurants, the complaint states.

In its complaint, American Family Mutual Insurance Company seeks a jury trial and unspecified damages.

Crystal Spivey Wildeman of Kahn, Dees, Donovan and Kahn represents the plaintiff.

Curtis R. Picou and Mary G. Sullivan of Crivello, Carlson, Picou & Andrekanic in Edwardsville represent Frymaster.

An Aug. 13 status conference is scheduled.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 13-L-266.

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