Wash. Appellate Court Stomps Out Insurer’s Pellet Stove Fire Victory


This is the case of American Family Mutual Insurance Co. v. Wood Stoves Etc. Inc., case number 83528-9-I, heard in the Court of Appeals of the State of Washington, Division One.

Last week, Washington’s appellate court overturned the summary judgment win obtained by American Family Mutual Insurance Co. against Wood Stoves Etc. Inc., which does business as Rich’s for the Home, a retainer seller of a faulty pellet stove.

The panel of appellate judges found that American Family Mutual Insurance Co. (“AmFam”) did not do enough to show that it could not sue the stove’s manufacturer first before it decided to sue only Wood Stoves Etc. Inc. (“Wood stoves”).

The underlying circumstances involved the insurer’s summary judgment victory against the seller of a pellet stove that caught fire after it was installed, but the appellate court has now reversed that decision, stating in its opinion that AmFam failed to prove that it was unable to first sue the manufacturer of the stoves, before suing Wood Stoves.