NEW YORK Power Piping Co.
has responded to a U.S. Steel Corp. lawsuit seeking to reclaim
losses the steelmaker says it sustained following a 2010
explosion at its Clairton, Pa., coke plant.
The Pittsburgh-based steamfitter
said in a filing in Allegheny County (Pa.) Court of Common
Pleas that U.S. Steel must recoup any compensation that it paid
six of its employees for injuries sustained in the explosion
through the Pennsylvania Workers Compensation Act, not
through a suit against a third party.
The act is "the exclusive remedy
by which an employer or his insurer may recover sums it paid in
workmens compensation benefits to an injured employee,"
attorneys at Pittsburgh-based law firm Swartz Campbell LLC
wrote on behalf of Power Piping.
Six U.S. Steel employees and
five Power Piping workers were injured in the 2010 explosion,
which occurred as Power Piping was performing repair and
installation work at the coke battery.
Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel
spent about $6.97 million on repairs, workers
compensation payments, and investigation and defense of alleged
Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) violations
amm.com, Nov. 26). It also is facing claims "in
the millions of dollars" from personal injury lawsuits brought
against it by the five Power Piping workers, according to its
initial complaint filed Nov. 16.
U.S. Steel argued that under a
contract between the two companies, Power Piping is liable for
the damages as the company failed to take adequate safety
precautions and "failed to heed the warning and alarm system at
the B battery" prior to the explosion, according to
U.S. Steel declined to comment,
while Power Piping did not return a request for comment.