After Gas Grill Explodes, Reading Man Suffers Extensive Injuries, Receives $9.3 Million in Damages

By Nicholas Malfitano

PHILADELPHIA – A Reading couple who sued both a local merchant and the manufacturer of a gas-powered stove after the husband-plaintiff was severely burned and injured by that same stove when it exploded, received more than $9.3 million in damages earlier this year.

Luong Nguyen and Thuy Nguyen of Reading first filed suit July 29, 2015 in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas versus Vinh Hung Enterprise, Inc. and Vinh Hung Gift Shop of Philadelphia, plus Ambaware Products, Inc. of South El Monte, Calif.

Per the litigation, Ambaware manufactured the AMBA gas stove and sold it Vinh Hung Gift Shop, who in turn sold it to the Nguyens. On Aug. 10, 2013, Luong hooked up the AMBA gas stove to a propane tank using the hose that the stove was equipped with.

On the day of the incident, the AMBA gas stove was being used for its intended purpose yet failed to function properly, as fire exploded from the stove and injured Luong.

“Defendants are aware that if the AMBA gas stove is not properly designed, then individuals can become seriously injured or killed. Defendants are aware that if the AMBA gas stove malfunctions, then individuals can become seriously injured or killed. Defendants are aware that if the AMBA gas stove lacks adequate warnings, then individuals can become seriously injured or killed,” the suit stated.

The suit alleged the AMBA gas stove did not operate in a safe manner and did not meet the expectations of the reasonable consumer, resulting in the injuries suffered by Luong.

When the stove exploded, Luong sustained second and third-degree burns to all areas of exposed skin, bilateral vocal cord paralysis, injuries from skin grafts, two tracheotomies, a vocal cord cordotomy and damage to his nerves, muscles, skin and tissue, all of which caused him pain and permanent limitations and restrictions.

The plaintiffs alleged the defendants committed violations of negligence, strict liability and breach of warranty in defectively designing, manufacturing and selling the AMBA gas stove to customers on the open market.

At an assessment of damages hearing held in January, subsequent to evidence and testimony at the bar of the bench, the Court awarded the plaintiffs $2,315,648 for economic damages, $6,000,000 for non-economic damages and $1,000,000 for loss of consortium, for a total of $9,315,648 against defendant Ambaware.

On March 1, plaintiff and defense counsel mutually agreed to settle, discontinue and end the matter as to defendants Vinh Hung Enterprise, Inc. and Vinh Hung Gift Shop only.

Prior to settlement and for counts of negligence, strict liability, breach of warranty and loss of consortium, the plaintiffs were seeking damages in excess of $50,000, plus costs, interests, compensatory and punitive damages, and all other damages allowed by law.

The plaintiffs were represented by Kenneth F. Fulginiti and Sarah F. Dooley of Duffy & Partners, in Philadelphia.

The defendants were represented by Kevin R. McNulty, John A. Dougherty and Kelly J. Fox of Gerolamo McNulty Divis & Lewbart, plus John R. Brown and Mitchell S. Berger of Ryan Brown Berger & Gibbons, all in Philadelphia.