Lake County family sues Gree for home fire, injuries caused by defective dehumidifier, subject to recalls, indictments

A Lake County family has filed suit against a Chinese manufacturer of dehumidifiers, saying a defective dehumidifier caught fire in their home and injured them, one of hundreds of costly incidents that led to a recall and criminal indictments.

The lawsuit was filed March 21 in Chicago federal court against a group of affiliated companies, including Gree USA, Inc., Gree Electric Appliances, Inc. of Zhuhai, Hong Kong Gree Electric Appliance Sales, Ltd., MJC America, Ltd., which does business as Soleus International, and MJC America Holdings Co., Inc.

The lawsuit was filed by plaintiffs Robert Brian Schultz, Emily Joy Schultz, and Joanna Sheeley. They are represented by attorney Brian Spencer, of Spencer Law Offices P.C., of Chicago.

The family alleges that a faulty dehumidifier manufactured by the defendants caused a fire in their home in March 2022, causing one family member to need to be rescued by firefighters through a basement window, and leaving another unresponsive on the floor when they were found by firefighters.

The lawsuit asserts the fire is one among hundreds that have led to product recalls and criminal indictments against the Chinese manufacturers, who were accused of knowing their products were prone to catch fire, but continued to sell them.

The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified exemplary and punitive damages, plus attorney fees.

This article was first published in Cook County Record.

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