Jackson County, MO $ 36.3 Million Verdict


The attorneys at Dollar, Burns, Becker & Hershewe recovered a $36,300,000 verdict on behalf of their clients, Anthony Jones and Lester Pruett, and against Liquid Asphalt for Liquid Asphalt’s negligent design and manufacturing of a storage tank.

On May 12, 2010, Anthony Jones and Lester Pruett were employed at Owens Corning. Owens Corning is a producer of residential and commercial building materials. As part of its business, Owens Corning maintains a permanent tank of asphalt on its premises.

Government regulations require Owens Corning to periodically empty and clean its asphalt tank. In order to accomplish this task, Owens Corning rented a temporary tank which had been designed and manufactured by Liquid Asphalt to store its asphalt while it cleaned its permanent tank.

Liquid Asphalt’s tank was big enough to hold 10,000 gallons of liquid. Owens Corning then hired another business, Rand Construction, to create a piping system so it could run asphalt from the permanent tank to the temporary tank.

Owens Corning intended to drain the asphalt from the permanent tank and store it in the temporary tank and then run an additional pipe from the temporary tank to its factory. On May 12, 2010, Anthony and Lester were present when the asphalt piping system malfunctioned and failed to deliver asphalt to the temporary storage tank. Lester and Anthony had determined that the asphalt had solidified in the piping system.

As was common at the plant, Anthony used a heat source to de-solidify the asphalt in the piping system. In order to do so, Anthony climbed on the ladder attached to the temporary tank and stood over the piping system. At this same time, Lester was also already standing on the temporary tank. While Anthony was up near the flange at the top of the tank, the over pressurization inside caused an explosive breach resulting in a massive amount of hot asphalt to blow out the top of the tank along with the gases which then also ignited from the heat source. Anthony was blown off the tank and hot burning asphalt covered his body. Lester was struck in the face by the blown off parts of the flange coming off the top of the tank to discharge out of the storage tank and knocked Anthony and Lester to the ground. The asphalt covered Anthony’s body.

Dollar, Burns & Becker filed a lawsuit against Rand Construction and Liquid Asphalt

On behalf of Anthony and Lester, Dollar, Burns, Becker & Hershewe filed a lawsuit against Rand Construction and Liquid Asphalt for negligent design and manufacturing of the piping system and temporary tank, strict liability for the pipe system and the temporary tank, and negligent failure to warn.

Before trial, Anthony and Lester settled with Rand construction for $7,200,000. Anthony and Lester proceeded to trial against Liquid Asphalt and received verdict in the amount of $36,300,000.