U.S. District Court Judge Claudia Wilken ruled this week (Feb. 16, 2010) that the Arnold Law Firm of Sacramento can move forward with a national class-action lawsuit that alleges that a half-million homeowners were deceived about the extreme threat that single-pane sealed glass-front gas-burning fireplaces present.

The judge for the Northern District of California ruled that the suit will cover "all consumers who are residents of the United States and who own homes or other residential dwellings in which one or more Superior or Lennox brand single-pane sealed glass front gas fireplaces have been installed since February 6, 2004, and all consumers who are residents of California and own homes or other residential dwellings in which one or more Superior brand single-pane glass sealed front gas fireplaces have been installed since February 6, 2004."

Trial is set for November 2010 in Oakland, California. In addition to the Arnold Law Firm, the class is represented by Cory Watson Crowder & DeGaris of Birmingham, Alabama, and Ram & Olson of San Francisco.

The suit alleges that the manufacturer hid from consumers the fact that the surface of the glass front on these direct-vent sealed gas-burning fireplaces can reach temperatures in excess of 475 degrees Fahrenheit during normal operation. Since these fireplaces are often built into the family room and bedrooms at near ground level heights, they pose a particular risk to small children and household pets. Contact with the superheated glass for less than a second can cause third-degree burns.

"The need to act became evident as we learned of more and more cases involving children and pets who were seriously and painfully injured by these fireplaces," said Clayeo Arnold, president of the Arnold Law Firm of Sacramento. "Parents were never warned that the surface of the glass reached such superheated temperatures or that even momentary contact of a child's hand could cause such severe damage."

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Reference Info:Decision | Federal, Federal Circuit | United States

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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