Bethel jury awards family $3.4M, finds housing authority negligent in boiler explosion
In a special verdict, a Bethel jury has awarded $3.4 million to a Chefornak family following a two-week trial against the Association of Village Council Presidents Regional Housing Authority.
According to the Angstman Law Office, Dietrich Mael filed a complaint after he was hurt in a boiler explosion at his parents' home owned by the housing authority.
Mael tried to turn off the home's boiler when it made a whistling sound. The boiler exploded and he was badly burned on his face and arms. Mael also suffered a serious back injury that prevented him from returning to his job.
The complaint says several family members lived at the home at the time of the incident. Court records say the housing authority violated its terms with the Mael family by not inspecting, maintaining or repairing the boiler to make sure the house was safe and habitable.
The jury found AVCP Regional Housing Authority negligent in the case. The majority of the $3.4 million awarded to the family went toward damages for economic loss.
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