Fire Expert Witness On Spoliation of Evidence Part 2

In Evidence – Handle With Care, fire expert witness and Principal of PyroCop Inc., Robert Rowe writes that:

In a subrogation action filed by a prominent insurance company (plaintiff) for damages it paid to its insured’s as the result of a fire that occurred in the laundry room of the insured’s residence, Plaintiff claimed the fire was caused by an exhaust fan manufactured by Defendant.

The fire expert retained by the insurance company to conduct the initial investigation returned to the scene with a forensic electrical expert to analyze the electrical appliances, components, and wiring at the residence. Once the inspection was complete, the Plaintiff advised the home owner that they could begin repairs to the fire scene.

The Plaintiff then referred the insurance claim to its subrogation unit with the intent to pursue recovery against the Defendant and faxed the Defendant a letter a notifying the Defendent of the fire and Plaintiff’s belief that the Defendant’s fan was a cause of loss and offered the Defendant an opportunity to inspect the fire scene prior to repairs. By that point, however, repairs had already begun and the fire scene had not been preserved.