Chickasaw, AL – The family of two people killed in their Chickasaw home after a carbon monoxide leak have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Mobile Gas Service Corp. and the makers of the furnace in the house.
Brett Parker, 31, and Cheryl Parker, 15, were found dead in their home after a reported leak in January. The home’s owner, who is Cheryl’s mother and Brett Parker’s sister, Taisheira Parker, 30, also was injured by the leak. She has filed suit on behalf of her daughter and brother.
The 17-page complaint, filed in Mobile County Circuit Court, alleges that the gas company “failed to adequately warn of and/or safeguard against the life-threatening hazard” and “failed to prevent and block the flow of natural gas to the defective gas appliance.”
Melody Eagan, a Birmingham lawyer who represents AAF-McQuay, which manufactures the furnace, said her firm was investigating the allegations. “It’s really too early for me to provide any sort of comment about the case,” she said.
But other lawyers for the manufacturer wrote, ” AAF-McQuay denies that it manufactured, marketed, sold, supplied, distributed, retailed or otherwise produced any products which caused or contributed to the plaintiff’s injuries … or death.”
Lawyers for Mobile Gas did not respond to two tele phone messages requesting comment for this story, but also denied the allegations in court documents.
The complaint seeks unspecified damages from the two companies.
A team of lawyers representing both sides in the case said that they expect to meet soon to inspect the central heating system that was inside the house at 215 Bell Court in Chickasaw when the leak occurred.
“It’s a horrendous tragedy,” said Skip Finkbohner of Mobile, the lawyer for Parker. “No question about it. Getting killed by gas in your own home it’s ridiculous, really.”
Parker’s complaint alleges that Mobile Gas hired employees “who were unfit and/or incompetent” and that the heating unit was “unreasonably dangerous and defective.”
The suit was filed almost exactly a year after a Mobile jury awarded another Chickasaw woman more than $7 million for the death of her mother and the illness of three children who experienced carbon monoxide poisoning. The judgment went against Mobile Gas and two other defendants.
Finkbohner, who also represented the plaintiffs in last year’s lawsuit, pointed to similarities in the two cases. Both were rental houses with absentee landlords, he said, and both had central heaters located in hall closets.
Parker, who worked for the Volunteers of America, had moved to Mobile from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, her lawyers said.
On Jan. 22, the night of the leak, her daughter, Cheryl, had come home, taken a bath and laid down to sleep, Finkbohner said.
The girl was found dead a few hours later, her outfit for the next morning laid out nearby.