Manufacturer of freezer door pays $1 million even though insured hit door with forklift

The insured, who owned a large freezer warehouse, bought electrically heated sliding freezer doors for the truck bays at their warehouse. The doors, which contained a nichrome heating wire in the perimeter of the door, were designed not to freeze when closed. Discovery revealed that the company that made the heated freezer doors had no engineers on staff, had decided to remove a thermostat intended as a safety feature and had made other changes to the doors in order to save money. Predictably, all of the doors at the warehouse were frequently bumped by forklifts used to bring products in and out of the warehouse, which damaged the nichrome heating wire in the doors. Expert testimony established that, but for the removal of the thermostat and other design changes, the fire originating in one of these doors would not have occurred. After substantial litigation, the defendant paid Stutman Law’s client a $1 million settlement.

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