Arthur Chapman’s Fire Litigation Practice Group offers its insurance, manufacturer, and self-insured clients a team of experienced fire litigation professionals who know how to navigate their way through this complex and rapidly-evolving area of the law.

With the advent of formalized fire investigation procedures (NFPA 921), coupled with the strenuous requirements for admissibility of expert testimony under Daubert and Frye-Mack, and the ever-present specter of spoliation sanctions, it has never been more important to ensure the right attorneys and experts are involved in your fire case from the beginning. To that end, our attorneys have immersed themselves in this area of the law by obtaining degrees in fire inspection and investigation, and participating in the industry’s most prestigious fire-related defense organizations.

Our expertise

  • Retention of Experts 
  • Cause and origin investigation of the fire scene 
  • Identifying parties for third-party practice or subrogation potential
  • Defending or examining fire experts at discovery depositions or trial 
  • Analyzing and advocating evidentiary issues such as admissibility of fire experts’ testimony under Daubert or Frye-Mack challenges 
  • Preventing or advocating for spoliation sanctions for the destruction of evidence 
  • Presenting or defending fire cause, origin, and spread theories at trial 

Representative cases
Manufacturing Facility Chemical Leak and Resulting Fire/Explosion: (Over $250,000,000 in claimed losses) Defense counsel for insurer and component-part manufacturer in an action involving a chemical leak and resulting fire/explosion at a food manufacturing facility using liquid-ammonia refrigeration systems.

Arabian Horse Facility Fire: (Over $22,000,000 in claimed losses) Defense counsel for insurer and wallboard material manufacturer in an action involving fire spread claims related to the total destruction of an Arabian horse breeding/training facility.

Natural Gas Pipeline Leak: (Over $5,000,000 in estimated losses) Counsel for subrogated insurer involving claims for workers' compensation, business interruption and lost property arising out of a natural gas leak and resulting explosion at a commercial building.

Fires at Agricultural Facilities: (Alleged losses ranging from $2,000,000 - $2,500,000 ) Defense counsel for insurers and manufacturers in multiple cases involving fires at agricultural/livestock facilities, arising out of negligence, strict liability and breach of contract claims.

Greenhouse Fire: (Over $2,500,000 in estimated losses) Defense counsel for insurer and international manufacturer of motor control systems in action for loss of commercial greenhouses due to alleged electrical fire.

University Library Fire: (Over $2,000,000 in estimated losses) Defense counsel for insurer and manufacturer of cable television equipment with regard to an alleged electrical fire inside a library at a local university.

Restaurant Fire: (Over $1,700,000 in claimed losses) Defense counsel for insurer and fire inspection/service company where alleged grease fire resulted in total loss of the facility.

Maritime Fire Loss: (Over $1,500,000 in claimed losses) Defense counsel for arc-welder and maritime insurer in action for total loss of passenger ship due to fire.

Custom Home Fire: (Over $1,300,000 in alleged losses) Defense counsel for electrical contractor and insurer in a fire at a home construction site, involving numerous parties and complex spoliation issues.

Assisted Living Facility Fire: (Over $1,000,000 in alleged losses) Defense counsel for insurer and construction company in action involving cause and origin issues, flame spread claims, and possible spoliation of evidence by Plaintiff related to fire at assisted living facility. 

The Team

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Susan K. H. Conley

Fire Litigation Chair

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