P&G Work Injury Lawsuit Settled

The Flynn Law Firm is pleased to report that it has resolved an industrial accident lawsuit brought by a Procter & Gamble employee against the Procter & Gamble Company and others responsible for designing and installing an industrial system in Augusta, Georgia.

On January 1, 2010, Plaintiff Michael Bradley was performing maintenance on a paste agglomeration (PAG) supply line when, without warning, a caustic solution used in the manufacture of household detergents struck him in the face, causing severe injury. The Defendants had a role in the design, construction, installation or maintenance of the system upon which Mr. Bradley was working at the time of his incident or, alternatively, manufactured products which were a part of that system. Procter & Gamble Company was the parent company of Plaintiff’s employer, Procter and Gamble Manufacturing Company, and was added as a separate party to the case.

The PAG system upon which Mr. Bradley was working at the time of his injury is a complicated piping system used to make paste agglomerate, an ingredient in powdered laundry detergents such as Tide and Gain. In 2004, P&G initiated “Project Flood to change the PAG system so that the paste agglomerate it created could be made using new ingredients and different processes. In the area where Michael Bradley was injured, the piping was reconfigured to allow for splitting of paste between one of two mixers. In so doing, two manual valves were moved from the fourth floor of the building to the ceiling of the third floor. Because the valves were in the ceiling of the third floor, over twenty feet from the ground, the valves were automated. Michael Bradley was injured when one of the valves failed to open
Fru-Con, a large general contractor, was the “on site” construction firm who actually made all modifications to the system after it was designed by Defendant Technical Associates.

Fru-Con was responsible for construction on the subject line, and negligently installed an improperly sized coupling. As a result of such negligence, the pigging valve did not open or close completely. Because of the improperly sized coupling, the pig valve did not actuate when called upon to do so. The end result of this negligence manifested itself on January 1, 2010 when Michael attempted to bleed the pressure from the paste supply line prior to opening the line. When he opened the pig station on that morning while pressure was still in the line— reverted paste was poised to be ejected from the line, unbeknownst to Mike. .

Other defendants were also named in the action. Technical Associates, LLC, an Albany, Georgia based industrial architectural and design firm, was sued for professional negligence for Failure to design a system with compatible actuators and valves; Failing to design a system with indicators on the valves showing the degrees that the valves are open or closed.

In November of 2012, another defendant, E-Technologies Group, Inc., was added to the loss of consortium claims by Sandee Melissa Bradley. It was sued because it failed to design a system with a proper interface between the incompatible valves and actuators and in failing to select a coupling that was properly sized.

After receiving Fru-Con’s notice of non-party fault as to P&G, Plaintiff Sandee Melissa Bradley added the Procter & Gamble Company to the loss of consortium action in January of 2013. Michael Bradley worked for Procter & Gamble Manufacturing Company, a subsidiary of the Procter & Gamble Company. Discovery showed that employees of the Procter & Gamble Company had a role in the design and maintenance of the subject system, with one Procter & Gamble Company witnesses testifying that he had ultimate responsibility for “Project Flood.” . In a detailed order dated February 15, 2013, Judge Kelly Lee rejected P&G’s arguments, and found that P&G could be sued, inasmuch as P&G and P&GM were “clearly separate functioning entities.”

Plaintiff also settled with Tyco Valves and Contols, LP, the maker of the actuator at issue, and Velan Valves.

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