JANE LEGER – WE CHANGE INDUSTRY
The Ferguson Law Firm’s cases sometimes change industries. Attorney Jane Leger explains what that means.
We were hired to represent a man that worked in a paper mill in North Carolina who had been severely injured. A pressure vessel that was used in the papermaking process blew it’s lid off because the bolts we’re very corroded and rusty and had not been properly inspected or maintained. And we sued the inspection company that had allowed that vessel to stay in operation for almost 40 years with absolutely no maintenance and no inspection done on it.
And one of the issues in the litigation that the inspection company raised was that: “Well, that piece of equipment doesn’t fall under the state pressure vessel safety act. So we did not have that to inspect it.” Well, we went to the state, the department of labor, and raised the issue with them that companies were not inspecting these vessels because they did not think that they fell within the ax jurisdiction.
And the chief inspector at North Carolina came and looked at our case and the evidence that we had uncovered, he said, “No, these vessels do need to be inspected.” And really our client was the motivator for that because his injury, the incident that had happened that had injured him, was the very type of incident the boiler and pressure vessel safety act was designed to prevent. So the chief inspector came in and then sent out a memo to all paper mills in North Carolina, that those vessels did have to pass the safety inspection. They did have to be inspected so that other people wouldn’t be hurt.