Allegedly Defective Lightswitch Causes Fire in House

    Allegedly defective lightswitchThis case involves a light switch which was allegedly defective. The plaintiffs bought a house and had new three new light switches installed in their living room. The electrician reported no issues during installation, but, according to the plaintiffs, small sparks would be seen when the lights were turned on and off. The plaintiffs wanted to alert the electrician but were unable to get ahold of him for four days. While both plaintiffs were at work, their house burned down from a fire that inspectors determined started in the living room. There had been other complaints regarding the light switch’s manufacturer, and some lawsuits filed regarding sparks causing fires.

    Question(s) For Expert Witness

    • 1. Can you analyze the specifics of the light switch, and determine if it is defective?

    Expert Witness Response

    Based on the information provided, and similar cases in the past, it does seem like there is an issue with the light switch. When analyzing light switches, assuming it is not an error committed by the electrician, spark usually indicate an issue with the electrical contact point and/or the screw terminal. This can be caused by a myriad of factors, and I would need to review the specific model installed, in addition to the electrical specifications of the house. I have over twenty-three years of experience as an electrical engineer, and have examined similar cases involving light switches and electrical issues, in general.

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