Blasius v. Angel Auto. Inc., No. 15-2994 (7th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
In 2009, Blasius purchased a used 2005 Ford Excursion for use in towing his motorcycle racing trailer. Over the next three years, he invested about $70,000 in parts, modifications, and accessories In 2012, Blasius took the vehicle to AAI, an Elkhart automotive repair shop, and gave AAI an “open checkbook” for work on the vehicle’s engine, suspension, turbocharger, intake and exhaust manifolds, exhaust, transmission, brakes, spark plugs, and oil pump. One day and about 200 miles after Blasius retrieved the vehicle, it caught fire and was destroyed. The district court rejected Blasius’s suit on summary judgment, concluding that: Blasius failed to present evidence that AAI’s work proximately caused the fire and the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur did not apply. The Seventh Circuit reversed, finding a genuine issue of material fact exists as to the proximate cause of the fire. vehicle fires of this kind do not occur as a matter of course; the parts were new, and the record contained no evidence of road hazards or inclement weather.