Cook County Record

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Fatal apartment fire results in lawsuit

By Whitney Brakken | Nov 26, 2013

An apartment building owner and insurance company are being sued after a fire broke out and killed a tenant.

Robert Hafstad, individually and as special administrator of the Estate of Diane Hafstad, filed a lawsuit Oct. 31 in Cook County Circuit Court against Steve Beutelspacher and State Farm Fire and Casualty Co.

According to the complaint, Beutelspacher owned an apartment building at 2618 W. Lunt Ave. in Chicago where the plaintiffs were first floor tenants on Oct. 31, 2011. The suit states that Hafstad was injured and Diane Hafstad was killed after a fire started in their apartment.

Hafstad claims that Beutelspacher failed to maintain the electrical service in the plaintiffs' apartment, allowed unskilled workers to perform repairs that resulted from a previous fire, failed to provide operating smoke detectors and failed to repair electrical service, despite knowing the circuit breakers were often triggered.

According to the complaint, the plaintiffs had renters insurance with State Farm Fire and Casualty at the time of the fire. During the investigation of the fire, Hafstad contends that electrical artifacts were taken to determine the cause of fire.

Hastad further alleges that State Farm destroyed the evidence and as a result, heis unable to test the artifacts to prove the underlying causes of actions against Beutelspacher or a product liability action against the manufacturers.

He is seeking damages in excess of $50,000. He is represented in the case by Chicago attorney Edmund J. Scanlan.

Cook County Circuit Court Case No. 2013L012035.

This is a report on a civil lawsuit filed at the Cook County Courthouse. The details in this report come from an original complaint filed by a plaintiff. Please note that a complaint represents an accusation by a private individual, not the government. It is not an indication of guilt, and it represents only one side of the story.

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