Shareholders Thomas Orlando and Michael Foran, and Partner Michael Errera successfully represented an ethanol production facility in Minnesota on appeal regarding an explosion at the plant their client alleges was caused by a defect in a California environmental equipment manufacturer’s product.
In the original decision, a federal judge found the production facility to be responsible for not properly maintaining the product resulting in an explosion after a small coupling broke that damaged a significant portion of the facility.
In the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Tom argued that safer design alternatives existed, and the product’s design was defective and unreasonably dangerous.
Although the product aligned with industry standards in production, the court agreed that this did not guarantee the product was designed safely and that whether the product was unreasonably dangerous is for a jury to decide. The summary judgment that the product was not defectively designed was therefore reversed.
The three-judge panel remanded the case for further proceedings. As a result, the California company faces exposure at trial for some of the $20 million in damages caused by the explosion.
Thomas Orlando, Michael Foran and Michael Errera advise clients on insurance matters, including subrogation and recovery, through trial and appeal.
Read more about the case in Reuters.