In 1980, Mrs. Cassisi purchased a Maytag clothes dryer. Nineteen months later, the dryer caught fire and burned down her house. Mrs. Cassisi instituted a product claim against Maytag and the appliance store where the dryer was purchased. She hired an expert who testified at trial that the fire originated inside the dryer but, because of extensive damage, the expert could not specifically identify the defect. The expert suspected that there was an electrical short inside the dryer but he was unable to negate other possible causes of the fire. The trial court dismissed the case because the defect could not be identified. The appellate court awarded Mrs. Cassisi a new trial deciding that when a product malfunctions during normal operations, an inference of defect arises such that the case can be presented to a jury for consideration. That does not necessarily mean Mrs. Cassisi makes a recovery, but at least she was entitled to a jury decision.
These many years later, the Cassisi inference is still the law of Florida. If a defective product causes significant property damage or personal injury, keep the product and contact an attorney knowledgeable in product liability law. Maybe the Cassisi inference will be of some help to you.
For more information on product liability or personal injury, call Goldstein, Buckley, Cechman, Rice & Purtz at (239) 334-1146 to make an appointment to speak to an attorney for a free consultation.