Farm Bureau suit says Walmart TV set Hoosier’s house on fire

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A southern Indiana man says he got more than he bargained for when he bought a low-price TV from Walmart. He claims the television set his house on fire.

Now, the man’s insurance company, Indianapolis-based Indiana Farm Bureau, is suing Wal-Mart Stores Inc. for making and selling a an “unreasonably dangerous” TV to Harold Hornby of Oakland City.

Indiana Farm Bureau, in a lawsuit filed this month, says the “defective” TV fire caused nearly $141,000 in damages, including Hornby's cost of finding another place to live while his home was repaired.

Hornby had purchased an iLo television, Walmart’s low-end house brand. But on December 7, 2009, the TV set caught fire in Hornby’s living room, damaging furniture and other contents of the house, according to Cameron Morgan, an attorney for Indiana Farm Bureau.

It’s not uncommon for household appliances to cause house fires, said Morgan, but he said it’s unusual for him to have a case in which a television is the culprit.

“I don’t get a lot of those,” he said. Farm Bureau wants Wal-Mart to pay the damages, plus interest and legal fees.

Morgan said Indiana Farm Bureau had an engineer examine the iLo television, who determined it had suffered a malfunction in a part called the flyback transformer, which helps control the movement of the electron beam in the cathode-ray tube of the television.

The cause of the fire of course will be in dispute as Wal-Mart and Farm Bureau argue their case before Sarah Evans Barker, a U.S. District Court judge in Indianapolis.

Messages sent to attorneys for Arkansas-based Wal-Mart were not immediately returned.

Wal-Mart launched the iLo brand in 2004, contracting with Japan-based Funai Electric Co. Ltd. to make them.


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