Woman in Nevada dies waiting for home warranty company to fix her air conditioning

Valley of Fire, Nevada/Shutterstock Images

When her air conditioner malfunctioned in August, Virginia DeSapio requested repairs from her home warranty company, according to a new lawsuit.

In the following days, the company postponed multiple appointments, the complaint alleges. By the time it said it had ordered the necessary tools, DeSapio, 82, was found dead in her Nevada home, the lawsuit states.

Last week, DeSapio’s nephews and their attorney filed a wrongful-death lawsuit in Clark County District Court against Fidelity National Home Warranty Co. They allege the company ignored DeSapio’s emergency repairs request as she succumbed to fatal heat stress.

“It just went unanswered, that, you know, ‘Oops, she passed away; no big deal,’” the family’s attorney, Christian Morris, told The Washington Post. “It’s just sweeping what happened to her under the rug.”

Fidelity National Home Warranty did not respond to requests for comment.

DeSapio paid Fidelity National $635 annually for services, including heating and air conditioning repairs, at her Henderson, Nevada home in the USA, the lawsuit claims. Having lived in Nevada for more than 20 years, she was known for making delicious iced tea and greeting neighbors on walks with her pets, her nephews said in a statement.

After DeSapio requested repairs for her outdoor air conditioner on Aug. 11, Fidelity National scheduled an appointment for the next day, which it later postponed, the lawsuit claims. It delayed another appointment scheduled for Aug. 15, according to the suit.

In August, Las Vegas temperatures exceeded 100 degrees, and the house reached around 120 degrees inside, the lawsuit says. Based on the weather and DeSapio’s age, the lawsuit argues that repairs should have started within 24 hours of her request because of a clause in her contract.

On Aug. 15, DeSapio called one of her three nephews, Troy Kelley, to wish him a happy birthday, Morris said. She explained her air conditioning problem to him and mentioned she had an appointment scheduled for the next day, according to Morris.

The next day, Fidelity National told DeSapio that the delays were due to “technician researching pricing” and that it would make the repairs by Aug. 22, the lawsuit claims.

But on Aug. 22, DeSapio wasn’t answering Kelley’s calls, Morris said, so Kelley asked a neighbour to check on her. The neighbour found DeSapio dead in her home as a result of heat stress, according to Morris and the lawsuit. Her dog, Jesse, also later died of heat stress.

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