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JUSTICE GREEN did not participate in the decision.

Charles Merrell, Jr., (“Charlie”) and Latosha Gibson died from smoke inhalation in the bedroom of their rented home. When police officers arrived, they found in the living room a badly burned recliner, a damaged pole-style floor lamp, and other furniture covered in soot and smoke. There were candles, melted wax, an ashtray, and a “blunt”*fn1 on the table next to the recliner, as well as smoking paraphernalia throughout the house, including ash trays, a bong,*fn2 and marijuana cigarette butts. Two photographs were taken of the scene. The fire marshal declared the fire accidental and of unknown origin. The property owner discarded the burnt household items after authorities concluded their investigation.*fn3

The parents of Charlie Merrell, Jane Ceverny and Charles Merrell, Sr., (“Merrell”) brought wrongful death and survival claims against Wal-Mart, alleging that a halogen lamp in the apartment, purchased from Wal-Mart, caused the fire. Charles Merrell, Sr., testified that he bought the lamp at Wal-Mart for his son, but could not produce a receipt.

 
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