WACO, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The West City Council has approved a settlement of the lawsuit it filed against CF Industries, El Dorado Chemical Company, International Chemical Company and Adair Grain, Inc., manufacturers and suppliers of ammonium nitrate arising out of the fertilizer plant explosion that devastated the tiny central Texas community on April 17, 2013.
The massive blast killed fifteen people, injured many others and leveled parts of the town of West, Texas. The explosion damaged streets, water lines, sewer system and other City infrastructure. The lawsuit filed on behalf of the City of West asserted these defendants were negligent in selling and/or distributing the involved agriculture grade ammonium nitrate, the defendants failed to properly warn of the dangers associated with the handling and storage of the product, and should have never sold the ammonium nitrate to West Fertilizer. Defendants claim they did not cause harm to the City of West and that they were not responsible for the explosion.
While all other settlements in the West Explosion litigation have been confidential, the City of West is required by law to disclose the amount of the settlement when a proper request has been made for that information. Having received such a request, the City of West can state that it has agreed to resolve its lawsuit against all defendants and will receive a total of $10,443,000 to compensate the City for damages not covered by insurance or grants from governmental agencies. CF Industries will pay $6,400,000.00 to the City. El Dorado Chemical will pay $3,900,000.00. Adair Grain, Inc. will pay $143,000.00. International Chemical is included in the settlements with CF Industries and El Dorado Chemical.
This settlement was reached as trial was scheduled to begin on January 16, 2018. Steve Harrison, one of the lawyers representing the City of West and chairman of the plaintiffs’ executive committee in the West explosion litigation, was pleased with the outcome for the City.
“The resolution brings to a conclusion more than four and a half years of litigation by the City against the fertilizer manufacturers,” Harrison said. “This is a very good outcome for the community and we could not be more pleased for the folks of West.”
Harrison estimated a jury trial would have lasted approximately eight weeks. Appeals for the jury trial could have taken as long as 3 to 4 years to be heard.
The City of West was represented by Harrison, Zona Jones, Bryan Harrison, and Matt Morrison of the Waco law firm, Harrison Davis Steakley Morrison Jones P.C., as well as Mark Grotefeld and Pat Gareis of the Austin law firm Grotefeld Hoffman.
About Harrison Davis Steakley Morrison Jones P.C.
Established in 1999, with law offices in Waco and Beaumont, Texas, Harrison Davis Steakley Morrison Jones P.C. is a nationally recognized law firm committed to getting justice for clients in Texas and throughout the United States. The firm practices in the areas of fire and explosion, catastrophic accidents, pharmaceutical litigation, motor vehicle accidents, defective medical devices, condemnation and premises liability.