SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — A Siouxland school is suing a computer company for damages after a laptop cart caught fire in the fall of 2018.
Lawton-Bronson Community School District is suing the Hewlett-Packard Company (HP) to recover property damage after a fire caused damage to one of the school buildings.
A fire broke out in the school’s math classroom on September 25, 2018, around 4:48 p.m. While no one was injured, the fire caused “extensive damage to the classroom, hallways and school building,” documents state. The junior and senior high schools closed for about a week due to smoke damage in the building, reopening on October 2, 2018.
The documents said that the fire started at a laptop computer charging cart in the classroom that was plugged into an outlet. The cart and 17 laptops on it were all HP products. Documents state that the fire was caused by a malfunction of an HP product, calling it defective.
The school district is suing for product liability, stating a design or manufacturing defect led to the fire and damage to the classroom. The district is asking for a judgment for the total summary of all property damages suffered.
Lawton-Bronson Community School District Superintendent Chad Shook told KCAU 9 that the case is being handled by the school’s insurance company and it’s mostly out of the school’s hands.
“It’s got our name on it, but it’s between our insurance company and HP,” Shook said.
The school originally sought a jury trial, having filed in Iowa court in November 2021. The case was then filed in federal court under the US District Court Northern District of Iowa. On Friday, the parties agreed to a proposed schedule for the case. It shows a potential trial taking place in September 2023.