Laborer sues US Steel claiming injuries after broken jet explodes

By Kelly Holleran | Sep 16, 2013


A man claims he suffered severe and permanent injuries when a broken jet he was repairing exploded.

James Smith claims he was working as a construction laborer, removing clogged jets from drilling equipment on Sept. 2, 2011, when the incident occurred.

“While removing a clogged jet, the jet exploded away from the drilling rig, striking the plaintiff at high velocity, causing him serious and permanent injuries,” the suit filed Aug. 29 in Madison County Circuit Court states.

In addition to his injuries, Smith experienced great physical pain and suffering, sustained disabling injuries that prevented him from performing his usual job duties and lost wages, the complaint says.

Smith blames United States Steel Corporation, which had contracted with a company for the building of a primary quench tower foundation at its Granite City Works, for causing his injuries, saying it negligently failed to require that the drilling rig be depressurized when he removed the jet, among other negligent acts.

In addition to U.S. Steel, Smith also names the project’s general contractor Bowen Engineering Corporation and subcontractor Hatch Engineering as defendants. Bowen, which was the general contractor of the project, negligently failed to require the installation of a pressure gauge that would be visible to Smith, failed to require that the operator of the equipment be competent, failed to require the installation of operating controls permitting depressurization and failed to require that properly functioning equipment be utilized on the job site.

In his complaint, Smith is seeking a judgment of more than $100,000, plus costs.

He will be represented by William S. Beatty of Beatty, Motil and Jones in Glen Carbon.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 13-L-1482.


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