Mechanical company denies liability in former employee’s lawsuit over pressurized hydraulic fluid explosion

Heather Gvillo Jun. 16, 2015, 11:20am


A mechanical company claims its former employee’s own negligence for failing to wear appropriate gear and failing operate machinery properly were the cause of his alleged injuries when pressurized hydraulic fluid exploded at Olin Corp. in 2013.

Mark and Sandra Avant filed the March 30 lawsuit against Kane Mechanical Inc.

According to the complaint, Mark Avant claims he was injured while on the premises of the defendant’s property at the Olin Corp., located at 600 Powder Mill Road in East Alton, on Sept. 24, 2013. While there, he claims a pipe fitting and bushing for an extrusion press was handled improperly, causing hydraulic fluid under pressure to erupt and explode, striking Avant and knocking him off his feet, the suit states.

Avant claims he suffered painful injuries to his head and body, including a concussion, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression and emotional distress.

He also claims he required excessive medical treatment and hospital costs totaling roughly $125,000, and expects to incur future similar expenses as a result of his injuries.

Kane Mechanical denied the allegations in its April 29 answer, claiming the plaintiff’s own negligence contributed to the alleged injuries.

The plaintiff is accused of having a duty to exercise reasonable care and caution for his own safety and well-being.

He is also accused of operating a machine in a manner in which it was not intended to be operated, being in an area in which he was not supposed to be at the time of the accident and failing to wear proper gear.

The plaintiffs seek damages in excess of $50,000, plus attorneys’ fees and costs.

The Avants are represented by Craig Schlapprizzi of Donald Schlapprizzi PC in St. Louis.

Kane Mechanical is represented by Stephen R. Vedova and Benjamin J. Hegvik of Foley & Mansfield in Chicago.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 15-L-416

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