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This recall involves power cords supplied with certain Bosch, Gaggenau, Kenmore Elite and Thermador brand dishwashers that were manufactured from January 2008 through December 2013. Model and serial numbers are located on the top side of the dishwashers’ inner door panels.

See the full details at CPSC


This recall involves Edge, Edge XLT and Wrangler lawn mowers. The red riding lawn mowers have a gray seat with a foam cushion, black arm rests and either black or gray joystick or twin lever steering.  “Country Clipper” and the model name appear in black letters on the front under the seat and on the sides of the lawn mower. Recalled Country Clipper model numbers are as follows. The model number is located on a silver metal plate on the mower’s side rail.


See the full details at CPSC


Many times, a fire investigator will conclude that a device was electrically energized at the time of a fire based on the presence of a bead on a wire.  If an energized device is present in the area of origin, it is likely that it will be considered as a potential cause of a fire.  Some training guides put forth that beads can only be formed from arcing on wires that were electrically energized when they were exposed to a fire or caused a fire. Therefore, the presence or absence of a bead on a wire can have a strong influence on the direction of a fire investigation.  Hence, it is important to have a clear understanding of the various electrical and thermal conditions which can produce beads on electrical wires.

The main objective of this research was to determine, experimentally, if distinguishing characteristics exist between energized and non-energized wires subjected to various types of fire exposures.  The large majority of research published in the literature has not tested energized and non-energized wires under the same conditions.  A total of more than 190 wires were tested under various fire conditions.  Wire types included 12-gauge and 14-gauge solid conductors and 16-gauge and 18-gauge stranded conductors.  The tests were conducted using a bench-scale, premixed flame impingement apparatus, a bench-scale 125 kW/m2 radiant tunnel apparatus, a 2/5-scale flashover compartment, and a full-scale flashover compartment.  The use of various types of exposure conditions ensured that the characteristics on the wires (or lack thereof) were not caused by one specific type of thermal insult.  Wires were tested in both an energized and non-energized state.  Energized wires were tested under “load” and “no load” conditions.  Under load conditions, the energized wires were plugged into a 110-120 volt power source with 9 to 13 amps of current.  Under “no load” conditions, the wires were plugged into the power supply, but no current was flowing in the circuit.

Based on preliminary studies conducted by the authors, it was hypothesized that characteristic “arc-beads” could be formed on non-energized wires as well as energized wires.  Additionally, it was hypothesized that the formation of a bead on a wire was not a function of its “energized state”, but a function of its “thermal state”.  This hypothesis is based on the laws of physics, which states that liquids tend to form spherical structures due to cohesive surface forces.  These hypotheses are in opposition of the current state-of-the-art in the field, which states that beads can only be formed on energized wires.  Another review of all the test samples is still underway; however, these hypotheses are supported by the current research findings and sample analyses results.  No trends or distinguishing visual or microscopic characteristics between energized and non-energized wires have been found in the samples reviewed to-date.  Whether a wire was energized with load, energized without load, or non-energized had no significant effect on the visual or microscopic characteristics of the wire.  Round copper globules with clear lines of demarcation, traditionally defined as “beads”, were produced on both energized and non-energized wires.  Some energized wires that did arc failed to produce round copper globules with clear lines of demarcation, while some non-energized wires that did not arc did produce these characteristic beads.  Under a microscope, beads from some of the energized wires were porous and contained a large quantity of internal void spaces, while other beads contained no void spaces.  This same trend was true for non-energized wires.  A study of selected samples under SEM/EDS also showed no trends in grain structure or chemical compositions.

A detailed metallurgical study of internal grain structures of the beads was also performed.  The inner grain structures of the beads were studied for structure sizes, porosity, and general changes.  None of the physical aspects of the beads studied showed any definitive, distinguishing traits between energized and non-energized wires.  There was one trait, an internal line of demarcation, which was found on forty percent (40%) of the energized beads but only found in one of the non-energized beads.  The internal line of demarcation was marked by the abrupt change of the grain size between the bead and the adjoining wire.  Of the beads that showed this characteristic, half of the samples had larger grain structures on the bead when compared to the wire, and the other half revealed the opposite condition.  Since one of the non-energized beads did have an internal line of demarcation, it is not possible to conclude with 100% certainty that the presence of an internal line of demarcation indicates that a wire was energized at the time of bead formation.  Additionally, since not all of the energized wires exhibited an internal line of demarcation, it is not possible to say that the absence of an internal line of demarcation indicates that a wire was non-energized.

Click here for the  Full Report (This is a large file and may take a moment or two to open)

In the new issue of NFPA Journal®, President Jim Shannon said the Association will focus on the leading causes of home fires, including cooking. "We also need to continue to push hard for home fire sprinklers. That's still a large priority for NFPA, and we plan to work very aggressively in 2014 on our residential sprinkler initiative," he said.


by Dennis Field, Senior Fire Investigator
Fire Cause Analysis

Fire investigators with suppression experience recall that fear of getting called out of bed to return to a fire that had already been extinguished as the “Rekindle Nightmare!”

As fire investigators, we occasionally forget our roots and grumble about the extent of overhaul by the suppression crews as they “destroyed my fire patterns.”  This is a description of an incident with the need for overhaul and a warning for investigators.



This recall involves Nestlé three and five gallon cold and hot water dispensers. The units are white and silver in color and measure about 38 inches tall by 13 inches wide. Water is dispensed from the large plastic water bottle on the top of the unit through the machine by pushing on the paddles below that are marked with blue for cold water and red for hot water. The Nestlé Waters North America logo is on the front of the units. Only the following model and serial numbers are included in this recall. The model and serial numbers are printed on a white sticker on the back of the units.

Details can be seen at CPSC.


Model Numbers
Serial Numbers
















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Practical Approaches for Recouping Good Faith Payments


by: Larry Arnold

Faced with growing losses, insurance companies are focusing on fraud management and implementing risk mitigation controls, while at the same time remaining cognizant of their duty of good faith to policyholders.  So what happens when an insurer makes good faith payments on legitimate elements of an insurance claim but subsequently uncovers fraud in other elements of the claim?  Is the insurer entitled to recover all monies paid as part of the claim?  Or only the amount paid in reliance on the insured's misrepresentations?

Previously, there was no clear answer.  It was safe to assume that an insurer could recover monies paid on a claim under the right circumstances – the difficulty occurred when trying to recover payments made prior to the established fraud date.  For example, in California, the insurance code states, “If a representation is false in a material point, whether affirmative or promissory, the injured party is entitled to rescind the contract from the time the representation becomes false.”

Recent trial court rulings in favor of insurance companies, however, are changing the claims landscape.  These rulings will impact the way insurance companies handle genuine claims that are subsequently tainted by fraud, encouraging them to be proactive in recouping good faith payments.

Steps for Recouping

What options do insurance companies have to recoup these payments?  There are several avenues available.

Deny the Claim. When the SIU has completed a claims investigation and determined that an insured has breached the policy by materially misrepresenting facts, the claim can be denied – even the legitimate part.  Appropriate cases should be referred to law enforcement for prosecution.  In addition, the insured has a duty to present and prove the merits of the claim.  Failure to cooperate with insurance company representatives can independently result in denial of the claim.  This includes an examination under oath (EUO), which plays a key role in obtaining information.  Typically, the named insured (or others, as dictated by the policy) is required to submit to an EUO as a precondition for claims settlement.  Failure to do so can result in denial of the claim.

Void the Policy. An insurer may void or cancel its policy in the event of material misrepresentation or concealment of facts by the insured.  This includes fraudulent claims.

Litigation. If a policy is voided for fraudulent claims, insurers must then decide whether to sue the insured to recoup payments - even legitimate ones.  One advantage with litigation is that it allows for pretrial discovery process, including depositions and the ability to subpoena documents previously unavailable during the claims process.

A Case in Point

A recent case illustrates that insurance companies are entitled to recoup good faith payments when fraud is uncovered.  Here is some background on the case.

An insurer issued a fire insurance policy to the owner of a dry cleaning business located in Southern California.  A fire destroyed the business, so the owner submitted claims for replacement equipment, debris removal, damage to customer goods and loss of business income.  Based on these claims, the insurance company paid the owner $527,000.

However, during the insurance company’s investigation of additional claims, a forensic accountant uncovered inconsistencies in a laundry services contract submitted as part of the owner’s claim for loss of business income.  As a result, the owner was asked to sit for an EUO.  The owner declined and withdrew his pending claim.  The insurer then declined the claim, rescinded the policy and sued the business owner to recoup all loss payments.

At trial, evidence and witness testimony was presented that showed the owner had falsified the laundry contract and also inflated amounts paid for replacement equipment, debris removal, and payroll, among other items. Attorneys argued that the insurer was entitled to full recovery (payments made before the fraud occurred) for several novel reasons, including:

  • The outcome in Perovich v. Glen Falls Insurance Co. (9th Cir. 1968), where the court ruled that an insurer “may recover money paid in reasonable reliance on its insured’s fraudulent claim.”  The court held that the insurer was entitled to recover the full payment made under the policy.
  • Compelling the insured to return only a portion of the money would circumvent the purpose of the fraud statutes and create bad public policy.  The insured’s fear of losing even the legitimate claim payments should deter him from committing fraud.  An insured who knew he could recover the “honest” claims would be incentivized to calculate the risk of getting caught into his claims submission, determining that some things are worth lying about.

Though portions of the claim were legitimate, the judge ruled in favor of the insurer and its decision to rescind the fire insurance policy.  The insured was ordered to repay $452,064, which represented all payments less monies paid to customers who lost clothing in the fire and the policy premium.

Implications for Insurers

This decision is important as it reinforces the rights of insurance companies not only to decline a claim when fraud is uncovered but also to rescind a policy and sue the insured to collect good faith payments.  Previously, the law was not clear about what happens to monies paid as part of a legitimate claim, when fraud is discovered in a separate area.  It is now clear that fraud in part of a claim translates to fraud in the entire claim.

Claims managers should have an open discussion with claims adjusters and SIU team members, with the goal of establishing a claims review protocol that outlines what to look for and what to do if fraud is suspected.  This is critical, as claim adjusters are the first line of defense against fraud.  Once fraud is uncovered, insurance companies should not hesitate to consult with an attorney and pursue the insured in order to recover monies already paid.  In the end, both insurance companies and policyholders will benefit by reducing the high cost of fraud.

Larry M. Arnold, P.C., is a senior partner at Cummins & White, LLP.  He can be reached at (949) 852-1800, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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