Louisiana Industrial Accident Law Firm
Keogh Cox lawyers have a preeminent reputation in the defense of U.S. and international companies involving claims arising from major industrial accidents. We have a strong technical footing and years of experience with the legal issues – such as Louisiana’s redhibition law, comparative fault rule, prescription and anti-indemnity statutes. Unique defense strategies are in play in Louisiana – with Keogh Cox, our clients have a substantial edge when facing liability for multimillion dollar property damage, personal injury and business loss claims in difficult, contentious litigation. Many of our clients are major corporations along the chemical corridor, flanking the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge, New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico, as well as the manufacturers of heavy equipment used in industrial processes found there. Our lawyers, which include one who is also a Professional Engineer, help these businesses and their insurers in claims arising from fire, explosion, equipment/process failures or other catastrophic accidents. Clients appreciate our dedication and ability to thoroughly investigate the facts early in the litigation process, using both a technical and legal analysis to provide a solid framework for favorable resolution. We also have a strong, experienced group of trial lawyers who can confidently take the case to trial. We utilize a paperless document management system to efficiently handle and review the large volume of documents involved in the claims, a tremendous asset to our clients. Clients also appreciate our ongoing client communications and collaboration, and ability to move a case forward effectively.
Recent Experience Highlights
Client Story: Defense Verdict in Kaiser Plant Litigation
Where we started: We defended manufacturers of products who were sued for allegedly causing a catastrophic explosion of the Kaiser alumina plant in Gramercy, Louisiana. Property damage and lost revenue claims were estimated to be almost $500 million. Our roadmap: During our investigation, we determined that faulty wires caused a short and build up of pressure, causing the explosion. The damage claims were consolidated with personal injury claims by severely injured workers and a class action on behalf of the citizens of the two parishes surrounding the plant. Due to the enormous exposure in excess of available insurance, multiple defendants settled before trial, leaving only Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories and Thomas & Betts as defendants for the six-week jury trial. Resolution: The jury verdict for the defendants was named the defense verdict of the year by the National Law Journal. In re Gramercy Plant Explosion At Kaiser, Master Docket No. 25,975, 23rd Judicial District Court, St. James Parish, Louisiana.
Client Story: Keen Legal Analysis Gains Summary Judgment for Engineering Firm
Where we started: Keogh Cox represented a major engineering firm under contract with an oil refinery owner to provide technical services, engineering, procurement and construction management services, which included a broad scope of services for project management and safety review. The suit was filed by three workers who were injured during turnaround work at the refinery coker unit when a steam valve blew out. The suit involved a multimillion dollar claim against multiple defendants, a cross-claim by the plant owner for defense and indemnity, and multiple cross-claims among the other defendants. The contracts between the various parties were lengthy and complex, and both federal and state law issues were present. Our roadmap: Our client was sued for failure to inspect, warn and supervise, and other alleged safety violations that purportedly fell within the client’s broad scope of contractual services. Resolution: Summary judgment was granted in the early stages of litigation, which avoided significant discovery expenses. By carefully analyzing the contract scope of services and causes of the accident, we were able to show that the accident did not result from any breach of contract duty by our client.
Client Story: Summary Judgment for Construction Management Contractor
Where we started: Our client contracted with a chemical plant owner to provide construction management services for a project at the plant, and was sued for injuries to a subcontractor’s employee allegedly caused by the client’s failure to adhere to safety requirements. Our roadmap: The issues included whether a court may rely on the contract terms between the parties to determine the existence and scope of duties owed. The United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana granted our summary judgment motion dismissing all claims against the construction manager. The Court reasoned that the subcontractor’s contract with the owner expressly assigned it the exclusive and sole responsibility to ensure that its employees complied with the owner’s safety requirements. Conversely, our client’s contract with the owner did not include any supervisory oversight of the subcontractors’ safety procedures. Resolution: The Court agreed with our argument that the construction manager owed no obligation to the plaintiff because the terms of the contract, which excluded any such obligation, determined the scope of liability. Accordingly, all claims against our client were dismissed. Foster v. Sasol N. Am., Inc., No. 2:13 CV 2813, 2015 WL 338988 (W.D. La. Jan. 26, 2015).
More Details on Industrial Accidents
We defend our clients in suits involving major accidents that occur in Louisiana’s heavy industries. Our clients include manufacturers, engineering firms, contractors, construction management companies, commissioning agents, insurance companies and others. The firm’s Industrial Accidents team is staffed with attorneys experienced in this area of the law who have learned to take a broad, deep look at the claims and issues, such as:
- Redhibition claims
- Louisiana Products Liability Act claims
- Negligence, breach of contract and warranty claims
- Statutory employer and other immunity provisions
- Product and process defect claims
- OSHA and other safety standards
- Contract indemnity provisions and Louisiana anti-indemnity statutes
- Strategic use of outside expert analysis
- Federal preemption defenses
- Pre-claim investigation and assistance