The family of a man who died of severe burns after a tank ignited at a paper plant in North Charleston has confidentially settled its wrongful death suit against the companies that supplied and transported the materials in the tanks.
The family’s attorneys, Marlon Kimpson and W. Taylor Lacy of Motley Rice in Mount Pleasant and James Payne and Matthew Matheny of Provost Umphrey in Beaumont, Texas, did not disclose the amount of the Nov. 1 settlement, but claimed that it was one of the largest single-plaintiff settlements in South Carolina history, and one of the largest settlements to be reached after a jury had been selected for trial.
Brian Allen of Summerville was welding on a lift above tanks of solution at the plant in October 2015. The tanks should have contained non-flammable sodium hydrosulfide, but plaintiffs’ experts were able to show that at least one tank also contained gasoline, which was not identified as such on the tank.
The gasoline ignited, exploding and severely burning Allen, who was unable to escape due to being tied in a harness, according to the family’s complaint. Eight months later, he died of his injuries.
Allen’s family sued Axeon Specialty Products, Sulfide Systems, Kemper Industries, DRK Chemical Products Company, Akzo Nobel Functional Chemicals, Colonial Chemical Solutions, Quality Carriers Inc., L&B Transport Inc., and Young Transport–who all either supplied or transported the sodium hydrosulfide–in federal court. Allen’s employer was not a defendant.
The family’s attorneys said that the case required over 40 depositions and the production of over 45,000 pages of documents and more than 200 exhibits.
“This resolution will allow [Allen’s widow] Kristie and the rest of the family to put the litigation behind them and try to focus on the positive memories of Brian as best as they can,” the attorneys said in a press release.
Defense counsel did not respond to requests for comment by press time.
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SETTLEMENT REPORT – WRONGFUL DEATH
Injuries alleged: Survival and loss of consortium
Case name: Allen v. Axeon Specialty Products, et al.
Court: U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina
Case No.: 2:16-cv-02944-DCN
Judge: David Norton
Date of settlement: Nov. 1
Attorneys for plaintiff: Marlon Kimpson and W. Taylor Lacy of Motley Rice in Mount Pleasant and James Payne and Matthew Matheny of Provost Umphrey in Beaumont, Texas
Attorneys for defendant: Ashley Kelley of Womble Bond Dickinson in Charleston; G. Hamlin O’Kelley of Buist, Byars & Taylor in Beaufort; Molly Craig, Robert Hood and Benjamin Joyce of Hood Law Firm in Charleston; Kyle White and C. William McGee of Gallivan, White & Boyd in Charleston; Kevin Mims and Randell Stoney of Luzuriaga Mims in Charleston; Mark Barrow and Richard McLawhorn of Sweeny, Wingate & Barrow in Columbia; Duke Highfield, Jeffrey Wiseman and William Sweeny IV of Young Clement Rivers in Charleston; Thomas Gressette Jr., G. Trenholm Walker and John Linton Jr. of Walker Gressette Freeman & Linton in Charleston