A recent ruling fined a company $1 million for failing to include proper warnings:

The Illinois Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal of defendants in a $1 million Madison County jury verdict — the only welding rod trial successfully litigated in the United States.

That leaves standing the opinion of the 5th Appellate Court, which in December upheld Collinsville plaintiff Larry Elam’s claim that manganese in welding rods caused his Parkinson’s Disease.

The court denied the petition of Lincoln Electric, Hobart Brothers and The BOC Group for leave to appeal the case of Elam v. A.O. Smith et.al. on March 29.

“The opinion of the Fifth District affirmed the verdict based upon both the industry’s failure to warn about the link between welding fumes and neurological injury and the failure of the industry to investigate the connection,” stated Elam’s attorney Robert McCoy of Vaughan Cascino Law Offices in Chicago, in a press release.

Elam filed suit in July 2001 claiming the defendants were negligent in failing to investigate welding health hazards and providing adequate warnings. He also claimed they should be held strictly liable because of lack of investigation and adequate warnings.

After a four-week trial in 2003 and $1 million verdict, presiding Associate Judge Ralph Mendelsohn’s reduced the award to $925,000 because of a prior settlement made by Elam.

The defendants argued on appeal that Mendelsohn erred as a matter of law in refusing to enter a judgment in favor of defendants because warnings were issued–which Elam admitted he did not read–and therefore the “failure to warn” claim did not cause plaintiff’s injuries.

Defendants also claimed there was no credible medical evidence linking manganese in welding fumes to plaintiff’s Parkinson’s Disease, yet the plaintiff relied on it as evidence. In the alternative, defendants contend they are entitled to a new trial due to numerous alleged errors and/or abuses of discretion on the part of the trial court.

To avoid having this happen to your company, you should consider having a regulatory compliance company such as Nexreg Compliance author and/or audit your product labels and MSDSs to ensure they meet right-to-know legislation.

See the full article: Madison County Record.