January 2013 – Heinz and Howard Obtain a Summary Judgement in Fire Damage Case

Attorneys Ben Heinz and Kirby Howard obtained a summary judgment for the firm’s client in a fire damage case.  The firm’s client had parked his car in the grass within a few feet of the one-story apartment he was leasing.  Approximately 10 to 12 hours later, the client’s car caught fire which spread to the building.  The plaintiff asserted that the damage to the building and items in the building exceeded $40,000.  The plaintiff claimed the firm’s client had acted negligently and wantonly by parking in the yard.  The plaintiff argued that the firm’s client had parked in an unauthorized area as opposed to an authorized area, such as along the street.  Although the fire department determined that the fire did begin in the car, the plaintiff did not produce any evidence of how the fire began.  Heinz and Howard argued to the trial court that the vehicle fire did not constitute a “foreseeable” result of parking in the grass, that the plaintiff did not have any evidence of the proximate cause of the fire, and that no proof of wanton or willful conduct existed.  The trial court agreed with these arguments and entered summary judgment on all the plaintiff’s claims.