A local firefighter was conducting routine maintenance on the oxygen equipment used for medical treatment of injured people. The LSP oxygen regulator exploded, setting him on fire. He was airlifted to the Level I Burn Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital and was hospitalized for over a week.
Our client had no way of knowing that these LSP oxygen regulators had exploded many times before June 1998. He had no way of knowing that this oxygen regulator had ignited firefighters, paramedics, and patients from coast to coast.
He filed a lawsuit against Allied Healthcare and moved the Court to allow a claim for “punitive damages.” Punitive damages are intended to punish intentional misconduct. After multiple hearings and motions, the Court allowed him to assert a claim for punitive damages.
Under questioning by Attorney John Uustal, Allied Healthcare’s representative admitted that Allied knew prior to the subject fire that LSP aluminum regulators were igniting firefighters and paramedics while they were trying to resuscitate patients. They also admitted that they knew that aluminum increased the risk of injury and was more dangerous than brass, that aluminum ignites with oxygen pressures as low as 25 psi, whereas it takes over 8000 psi to ignite brass, that brass improved the safety of the regulators, that all the post-fire aluminum LSP regulators examined had internal particle contamination including aluminum oxidation, that this “contamination” as Allied calls it cannot be prevented by the user and will occur without a doubt, and that this contamination causes fires.
Uustal hired Barry Newton, whom the FDA called the nation’s foremost forensic expert. He recreated the ignition and propagation of an LSP regulator. Newton testified that the regulator was defective. The case settled during