ISSUES: The Client was a doctor enjoying the Superbowl in his condominium while smoking a cigar. Ashes from the cigar ignited the couch and nearly ignited the fully occupied multi-story condominium building. The Client dragged the couch to the balcony and attempted to extinguish the fire. The Client pout out the fire, then inspected the cushion of the couch, turning it over in the process. Witnesses, who were all evacuated and standing at the ground level looking upward, claimed that the Client attempted to reignite the couch after seeing sparks emanating from the cushion where the client was standing.

OUTCOME: On the eve of trial, after converting the State’s expert witness into the defense’s expert witness the State abandoned the Arson charge. The State’s expert ultimately agreed that the cushion’s material, with embers having been exposed to air, could have cause the sparks that caused the second fire.