Representation of Distillation Column Manufacturer That Erupted During Maintenance Process

Collings and Terry v. APV. Collings was severely burned and Terry was killed when the contents of a distillation column erupted during a maintenance process. Defended the manufacturer of the distillation column, APV. The case was venued in Chicago, Illinois.

The property owner paid in excess of $13 million to settle plaintiffs’ claims and then sought contribution from APV. After a three-week trial, the jury found that the property owner was 93% at fault, the co-defendant 2% at fault, and APV 5% at fault. Although the verdict was considered by the client to be a success considering the Cook County venue, the client agreed with the recommendation that an appeal be filed. The Appellate Court reversed the verdict as to APV, agreeing with APV’s position that the incident was a wildly improbable event and unforeseeable as a result of modifications made to the equipment, and entered judgment in favor of APV and against the property owner.