Deals and Suits

Keith McCoy, et al. v. Compression Engineering Corp, et al.


By Nathan Koppel

Texas Lawyer

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W. Mark Lanier, a partner in Houston’s Lanier, Parker & Sullivan, won a $2.3 million verdict Aug. 3 in a personal-injury suit.

The plaintiff, Keith McCoy, alleged that Compression Engineering supplied a defective piston rod to his employer, Elf Atochem North America Inc. As a result of the defective rod, McCoy alleged, dangerous amounts of toxic gas escaped from a compressor at an Elf plant in Houston where he worked.

In his petition, McCoy claimed he was exposed to the gas, which rendered him unconscious and caused him to strike his head on the ground and break his nose.

The plaintiffs were also represented by John R. Gilbert, a partner with Angleton’s Gilbert & Gilbert, and Sheila D. Stine, an associate with the firm.

In its answer, Compression Engineering claimed that it did not design, manufacture or supply the piston rod for the compressor at issue. The defendant further alleged that McCoy’s injury was caused by his own negligence in failing to use ordinary care.

After a trial in the 113th District Court of Patricia Hancock of Houston, the jury returned a verdict for McCoy.

The jury found that Compression Engineering manufactured the piston rod at issue and that the rod was defective. The jury did not find McCoy negligent, and it awarded him $1.9 million for his past and future damages. It further awarded his wile, Tammy, $425,000 for loss of consortium and loss of her husband’s ability to perform “household services.”

Compression Engineering was represented by attorneys from the Houston offices of Jackson Walker, including Richard E. Griffin and Linda J. Cole, partners, and associate Frank G. Vlahakos.

This article is reprinted with permission from the August 16, 1999 issue of Texas Lawyer. © Texas Lawyer.

For more information please contact The Lanier Law Firm.

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