Have you been following the story of the gas-can manufacturer that closed an Oklahoma plant and blamed it all on greedy trial lawyers? There are two sides of this story, and one side makes the manufacturer look crass and greedy. Maybe that’s why they’re only telling the other side. Here are the opening paragraphs from an excellent article from Protect Consumer Justice. I encourage you to read the entire article.
Blitz USA, America’s largest plastic gas-can maker, recently closed its manufacturing plant in Miami, Okla., after nearly 50 years of operation, laid off 117 employees in the process, and put the blame on product liability lawsuits against the company. “We have been operating under extremely litigious environment [sic],” company officials said in a 2011 letter to customers. At that time the company was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, saying, “The defense costs related to increased litigation associated with fuel containment products is the primary factor that leads to our current situation.”
The “increased litigation” stemmed from more than 75 known incidents of people severely burned or killed when a Blitz gas can exploded. Fourteen people were burned to death, six of them children. And with millions of these gas cans still in use around the country, the injuries and deaths will continue.
The company ignored overwhelming test results – including their own tests – that their gas cans are exploding because of a manufacturing defect, transforming them into flamethrowers that are torching innocent people. And in a revelation eerily similar to the Ford Pinto cases of the early 1970s, the company knew about the problem but chose to save money rather than install a simple fix.