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Plyler v. Whirlpool Corp.

751 F.3d 509 (2014)

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Plyler v. Whirlpool Corp.

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

751 F.3d 509 (2014)

Facts

Allen Plyler (plaintiff) sued Whirlpool Corporation (defendant) for personal injuries he sustained after his Whirlpool microwave caught on fire. Plyler’s theory at trial was that the fire was caused by a defect in the microwave that was the subject of a 2001 recall by Whirlpool. At trial, an investigator for the responding fire department testified that the fire originated near the top of the microwave but that he could not determine the cause of the fire. An executive for Whirlpool stated that the defect from the 2001 recall occurred only if the microwave contained splattered food and was running. Plyler had previously stated that his microwave was clean and that it was not running at the time of the fire. Plyler testified at trial about how he observed three fires inside the microwave and noticed an orange glow at the top before having to exit his house. The jury ultimately returned a verdict in favor of Whirlpool. On appeal, Plyler argued that the trial court improperly restricted his testimony to his observations and should have allowed him to draw inferences regarding the source of the fire.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Rovner, J.)

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