Authorities have filed no charges in the
However, the fire and the events surrounding it unloosed a geyser of litigation that continues to spray around
One is that the residence was soaked in accelerant, fueling a fire so intense it overwhelmed the fire suppression system and destroyed everything inside.
Another is that the tenant who was scheduled to be evicted the day of the fire took out a
"This destroyed our life, financially and personally," the tenant,
The fire occurred on
In 2012, Lindenmeyer rented the four-bedroom home to Carson, now 65, and his wife
The cash portion of the monthly rent would rise from
The next year, however, a dispute developed between Lindenmeyer and the tenants over who was responsible for the gardening and landscaping, and whether Lindenmeyer improperly had entered the property. A dispute over rent payments also ensued.
Lindenmeyer moved to evict the tenants, and the fight landed in court. A jury decided largely in Lindenmeyer's favor, and the Carsons were ordered to vacate by
Authorities could not find the Carsons at first. A rented
In court documents filed later, Carson said the couple were out of town when the fire happened.
Fire task force
A team of fire investigators was assigned to the case. It included a county sheriff's detective; fire department inspectors from
The team found evidence of gasoline in several areas of the home, including three bedrooms, according to court documents. Some areas on the second floor could not be examined because of unstable or collapsed flooring.
Authorities never named a suspect and were unable to assign criminal culpability for charges. The sheriff's detective on the case,
The statute of limitations for arson is three to six years, depending on the circumstances alleged under various sections of the penal code.
After the fire, several lawsuits and counterclaims were filed. Much of the litigation was driven by Carson, who represented himself and his wife.
Though not a lawyer himself, Carson litigated with tenacity and a considerable amount of sophistication. He holds two master's degrees from
Carson sued Lindenmeyer for alleged negligence and fraud. Among other allegations, Carson claimed Lindenmeyer failed to inspect and maintain an adequate fire suppression system, causing the destruction of more than
That case went to trial in July before Judge
DeMartini complained that Lindenmeyer's home remains unrestored and unrented while Carson pursues his "ongoing litigation lifestyle."
Carson countered: "This is not about litigation for a living. I do have other things to do with my time."
"We lost 30 years' plus of belongings from my marriage," he added. "What did I come out of this with? I got zip."
"It seems odd to me to close my eyes to the question of who started the fire," Haakenson said.
Carson replied that it would not be fair to consider the question.
Haakenson's ruling came down last month and the judgment became final on Tuesday. He rejected all of Carson's claims.
The ruling, while citing the "thorough and successful efforts of the arsonist," does not explicitly specify who Haakenson thinks the arsonist was. But he wrote that Carson "curiously" took out the renter's insurance policy just days before he was supposed to vacate the home, around the same time the Carsons "suddenly desired" a vacation in
Carson, in an email on Friday, said he will appeal the verdict as flawed and biased. He said the judge "cherry picked evidence" to support a ruling in Lindenmeyer's favor, ignoring overwhelming evidence of failure in the fire suppression system's design and maintenance.
Carson also said the judge should not have speculated on who might have caused the fire, as it could have been anyone.
"That statement was prejudicial, as there was no evidence before the court in any manner regarding the fire...it did not have to be either party...it certainly was not me...in fact it is still under investigation evidently," he wrote.
He added: "The court, in my opinion, picked selected pieces of evidence to support a conclusion that was preordained when the judge asked the parties if he should be able to include in his decision anything related to who set the fire. All parties agreed that the fire was set by arson, but there was NO evidence presented by anyone for any purpose regarding who set the fire."
DeMartini, the lawyer for Lindenmeyer, did not respond to several requests for comment.
Meanwhile, Carson has more litigation pending against
The delays have "caused additional damages and losses to Plaintiff in not being able to settle his family within in this constant state of turmoil, uncertainty and broken promises," Carson wrote in a 2015 filing.
The insurer, in a statement released by spokesman
The insurer has also countersued for access to Carson's business records at
The bankruptcy court dismissed his case in June on the grounds that he failed to make his scheduled debt payments.
An earlier bankruptcy case -- in which he declared
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