Jury clears Airxcel of liability in stove incident that burned toddler

A lawsuit brought by an RVer against the manufacturer of a range cover that slammed closed knocking a pan of boiling vegetables onto her daughter standing nearby was ruled in favor of the manufacturer, Airxcel Inc. A Fulton County, Georgia, jury said the company bore no responsibility for the injuries to the toddler, reported the Daily Report.

Photo from Complaint filed in court.

The 2013 Sandpiper 366FL Travel Trailer was outfitted with a range and cooktop, and a bi-fold range cover with locking hinges on either side to hold it open when the cooking surface was in use.

The child was treated for “expansive burn treatments” – including the use of biosynthetic skin grafts, for about four months after the accident – at a charity hospital, so there were no medical bills included in her damages claims.

The defense account said the cover was properly designed, but the one in this RV was “significantly deformed in a manner consistent with someone pulling hard on the cover without lifting it out of its locked position” and featured a warning that the hinges should be locked in place when it was open.

“While we disputed the allegation that the product was defective, our primary defense was on causation and the claim that this range cover caused the pot to fall off of the range,” the defense claimed. The jury took about 3½ hours to find for the defense.

“We talked to the jury after the trial, and they all agreed the range cover was defective but that the mother should have recognized it and wasn’t paying attention to how it should be used,” he said.

The youngster, then 18 months old, suffered second-degree burns over much of her body and permanent scarring on her leg.

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