Stutman Law Attorney Uses Manufacturer’s Guidelines to “Burn” Installer of Wood Stove

Five years following the construction of an addition to a beautiful lake front home in Northern Michigan, a fire originated in an unoccupied attic of the addition and destroyed the home.  The unoccupied attic consisted of wooden framing members, piping for a wood stove, cellulose insulation and electrical wiring.  Although very little remained of the attic following the fire, Stutman Law eliminated the electrical wiring as the cause of the fire and pursued the installer of the wood stove and cellulose insulation for failing to properly install the stove pipe and insulation.  The stove pipe installer testified it followed the applicable codes and maintained a two inch clearance to combustibles around the stove pipe by constructing a two feet high box around the stove pipe that was open at the top.  Stutman Law’s legal research revealed the applicable code required that the installer of the stove pipe follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions.  Stutman Law communicated with the manufacturer of the stove pipe who provided the installation manuals which state to maintain a two inch clearance to combustibles by using a factory built metal attic insulation shield or construct a full enclosure from the attic floor to the roof of the attic.  Through litigation and a recreation of the attic space Stutman Law proved the installer’s two foot high box, open at the top violated the manufacturer’s installation instructions and Michigan Code because the attic was approximately forty-eight to fifty-two inches high.  Stutman Law reached a six figure settlement with the insulation contractor and wood stove installer for ninety percent of its provable damage claim.

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