Kyle Findley, Kala Sellers, and Adam Lewis represented a worker who was severely burned in a dust fire and explosion at a Georgia-Pacific plywood plant in Corrigan, TX. In 2004, Georgia-Pacific hired Aircon, Inc. to design and install a dust collection system to carry highly combustible dust from an industrial sander to a baghouse where filter bags could clean it out of the air. The system also incorporated a spark detection and suppression system manufactured by GreCon, Inc. to prevent fires and sparks from being carried into the baghouse.
On April 26, 2014, the dust collection system, and related safety systems, failed to protect the baghouse. A fire in the system sent sparks through the ductwork, and the system failed to prevent an ignition source from entering the baghouse—resulting in an explosion and deflagration. At the time of the explosion, our client was unknowingly standing within range of the deflagration and was engulfed by fire. Despite suffering significant burn injuries, our client worked to help alert emergency services of the explosion to help his co-workers who were also seriously injured. Our client was eventually transported by life flight helicopter to a Tier 1 burn unit in Houston, Texas, only after confirming his co-workers had been transported for treatment.
At the time of trial, our client had undergone seven surgical procedures and is projected to have multiple procedures in the future for his deteriorating skin and grafts. The trial took place over a three week period which allowed Kyle, Kala, and Adam to show the jury how the dust collection system was unsafe and failed to adhere to numerous industry standards. Our team also argued that the fire prevention system was installed in an unsafe location in violation of company policies, as well as industry standards.
The jury deliberated and found both defendants negligent for their unsafe design and failure to warn the plant of the hazards associated with the system. The jury awarded damages for medical expenses, loss of earning capacity, disfigurement, physical impairment, physical pain, and mental anguish.