On the legal front, the attorney who had retained Anderson Engineering manages to get Fieldcrest Cannon to settle out of court. Fieldcrest Cannon agrees to pay a nominal settlement just to get out of a lawsuit. Fieldcrest Cannon also agrees to put one of their in-house engineers (who is a specialist in these kinds of thermostats), at the disposal of the Anderson Engineering team. The Fieldcrest Cannon engineer provides Anderson Engineering with documentation, specifications, and other expertise on the failure of electric blanket thermostats.

With Fieldcrest Cannon now essentially on the same side as Anderson Engineering’s, the case goes to trial.

Engineer Beth Anderson provided expert witness testimony during the trial. Her job was to present the forensic facts to the jury, supporting Anderson Engineering’s claim that the Sunbeam thermostat had failed. Often the hardest part of expert witness testimony is presenting difficult evidence in a way that a jury of non-experts can understand it.

Thanks in part to the work of Anderson Engineering and Beth Anderson’s expert witness testimony, the jury found that the most probable cause of the fire was the failure of the Sunbeam thermostat, and that Sunbeam was liable.

Beth Anderson summed up her experience on this particularly difficult case as such: “The case came to us late,” she says, “and we weren’t able to investigate the fire scene for ourselves. We didn’t have much in the way of physical evidence. Solid forensic engineering helped. So did the competency of the attorneys. In the end it was a lot of difficult teamwork that proved the case to the jury. Sometimes the cases we get aren’t this difficult, but many are. We like it when a case ends the way this one did.”