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Florida Attorney Obtains No Negligence Jury Verdict in Flash Fire Suit

Tampa Attorney A. Michael Perotti recently obtained a favorable jury verdict on behalf of our property owner and property management company clients in the Seventh Judicial Circuit Court of Florida following a flash fire that occurred on our clients’ property and resulted in Plaintiff sustaining burn injuries.

In 2018, Plaintiff visited a tenant at our clients’ residential apartment complex in Daytona Beach, Florida. While visiting the tenant, Plaintiff attempted to light a community propane grill located on our clients’ property to cook dinner, and a collection of residual propane gas ignited and a large flash fire occurred. As a result of the fire, Plaintiff sustained second-degree burns on his arm and hand, as well as both of his legs from his mid-thigh down to his lower shins. Following the incident, Plaintiff was taken to the hospital and transferred to the nearest burn center for treatment where it was ultimately determined that he suffered permanent scarring and nerve damage. Following an inspection of the grill, it was revealed that the masonry enclosures in which the grills were housed had inadequate ventilation as required by most manufacturer’s recommendations and applicable standards. Plaintiff filed suit against our property owner and property management company clients, as well as the grill manufacturer, under multiple theories including premises liability, negligent maintenance, failure to correct a dangerous condition and failure to warn, and breach of manufacturer’s duty to warn. Following several years of litigation, the grill manufacturer reached a confidential settlement with Plaintiff, leaving our clients as the remaining defendants for the impending trial on the failure to maintain, failure to correct a dangerous condition and failure to warn claims.

Our Attorney, Michael Perotti, argued on behalf of our clients that the grill manufacturer’s recommendations were deficient because they failed to provide specific instructions regarding the necessary size, dimension and location of the required vents. Michael Perotti also argued that the grill manufacturer failed to warn our clients that they had reason to believe the grill enclosures were defective based on their involvement with a prior fire event that occurred at our clients’ apartment complex in 2016. Additionally, our attorney contended that video evidence captured at our clients’ apartment complex demonstrated that Plaintiff may have inadvertently turned on the gas several minutes prior to his attempt to light the grill.

After four hours of deliberation, the jury found no negligence on behalf of our clients, returning a verdict in favor of the defendants.

Michael focuses his legal practice on general liability matters and has experience handling a range of cases involving personal injury, wrongful death, commercial disputes and breach of contract, as well as first- and third-party insurance defense claims.