LOS ANGELES The estates of three workers killed in a December 2010 explosion at AL Solutions Inc.s facility in West Virginia are pressing ahead with a wrongful-death lawsuit against the titanium and zirconium recycler despite the recent approval of a settlement between the company and the U.S. government.
"We think we have a strong case," attorney Mark Colantonio said. A lawsuit filed in Hancock County (W.Va.) Court against AL Solutions and its private investment company owners is currently in the discovery stage, he said.
Colantonio and two associates in a Weirton, W.Va., law firm represent the estates of James Eugene Fish, Jeffrey Scott Fish and Steven Swain, who were killed in the explosion.
A person answering the telephone at AL Solutions headquarters in New Cumberland, W.Va., said the company had no comment.
According to an amended complaint filed by the plaintiffs attorneys in 2012, a total of five workers have been killed in fires or explosions at AL Solutions since 1995, in addition to "numerous" fires or explosions that caused damage. The complaint alleges the deaths were "a direct result of unsafe working practices and conditions and safety violations."
A U.S. District Court judge last month approved an earlier settlement between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and AL Solutions to resolve alleged Clean Air Act violations stemming from the 2010 explosion (amm.com, Dec. 23).
The EPA estimated that AL Solutions would spend about $7.8 million to implement "extensive measures" to reach environmental compliance, including processing or disposing of about 10,000 drums, or 2.4 million pounds, of titanium and zirconium in New Cumberland and Weirton, W.Va., by December "to reduce the risk of fire and explosion."
AL Solutions produces alloying additions for the aluminum industry via a proprietary process, including 83- and 88-percent titanium and 83- and 92-percent zirconium, according to its website.