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Fire Suppression Court Cases: Sun Chemical Corp v. Fike Corp

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The fire suppression industry has experienced a number of recent changes, including an increased need for suppression in varying situations– from wildfires, to installation of commercial suppression systems, there is great demand for fire suppression services.

With this growth comes increased risks— it’s important to make sure you are protecting your business and your employees from potential threats. Central Insurance Agency is prepared to provide you with a custom insurance solution to fit your needs.

Sun Chemical Corp v. Fike Corp, No. 18-1062 (3d Cir. 2020)

By Justia US Law

Sun made news ink at its East Rutherford facility and purchased a dust-collection system that included a Fike suppression system to contain explosions in case of a fire in the collection system. On the first day the system was fully operational, the dust-collection system caught fire. The suppression system activated an alarm that workers did not hear. After workers saw flames and extinguished the fire, an explosion sent flames out of the dust-collector system’s ducts, severely injuring several Sun employees and causing significant property damage. The ensuing government investigations caused Sun to end production at the facility.

Sun sued Fike under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act (CFA), N.J. Stat. 56:8-1, alleging that Fike misrepresented that: the suppression-system alarm would be audible and would comply with a specific industry standard; Fike would provide training to Sun employees; the suppression system had never experienced failures in the field; and the system was capable of preventing an explosion from entering the facility. The Third Circuit certified an issue to the New Jersey Supreme Court, then, consistent with the response, held that some of Sun’s CFA claims are absorbed and precluded by the New Jersey Products Liability Act, N.J. Stat. 2A:58C-1, and some are not. As to Sun’s remaining CFA claims, the court concluded that Sun demonstrated a genuine issue of material fact and remanded for further proceedings.

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