Three U.S. Companies Hit With Multiple Wrongful Deaths in U.K. Fire
The London Grenfell tower fire that claimed the lives of 72 people and injured many others in 2017 is being blamed on defective building materials. Attorneys for families and individuals harmed in the fire claim that the insulation provided by Arconic Inc. was “highly combustible” and caused the fire to spread out of control.
Investigators pinpointed the start of the blaze to a Whirlpool fridge/freezer. Once the fire spread to the cladding, it became impossible to control. The lawsuit has been filed in Philadelphia County where two of the main defendants are located, Arconic and Saint Gobain.
The lawsuit names 247 defendants including 69 of the 72 victims who were killed in the blaze. The rest of the plaintiffs are those who sustained life-altering injuries including psychological trauma, disfigurement, and other physical injuries.
Arconic Cladding Illegal in U.S.
The cladding used to insulate the London Grenfell Tower is illegal to use here in the U.S. in high-rise buildings larger than 40 ft. It will be impossible for Arconic to claim that they didn’t know about the danger before allowing it to be used in the U.K. The plaintiffs are claiming that this restriction caused Arconic to hawk their defective product in foreign markets where there were fewer regulations. In this case, it’s hard to argue against that.
A second company, Celotex, stands accused of hiding the flammable nature of the cladding that they sold and manipulating test results to conceal the potential danger of their product.
Plaintiffs have decided to file the lawsuit right in the two major company’s own backyard. Back in the U.K., authorities are discussing whether or not homicide charges are appropriate for this level of alleged fraud. It’s a bold maneuver that seeks to hold the companies accountable for their callous indifference to the lives that were lost overseas. But there may be one problem.
Celotex is Based in the U.K.—Not the U.S.
Celotex is a subsidiary of Saint Gobain which is, in fact, based in Pennsylvania. However, Celotex is based in the U.K. where it produces components for U.K. properties. The cladding was manufactured in the U.K. Saint Gobain will attempt to argue that the U.K. defendants don’t have standing to file a lawsuit in the U.S.
However, this doesn’t answer the question as to what Celotex did or did not conceal. Since there are investigations currently underway both in the U.S. and in the U.K., these investigations, however slowly they move, will provide much of the information required for the plaintiffs to make their case.
On the other hand, it will be for a judge to decide whether or not the case can be tried in the U.S. or whether or not must be tried in the U.K. And there may have been other contributory reasons why the Grenfell fire took so many lives.
Talk to a Miami Personal Injury Attorney
If you’ve been injured by a defective product, talk to the Miami personal injury attorneys at the office of Alan Goldfarb, P.A for a free consultation.