Marshall jury returns $7 million verdict in AEP blast case

By Kyla Asbury | Aug 29, 2011

Chris Regan and Geoffrey Brown

Lewis Timmons died on Jan. 8, 2007, in this explosion at an AEP plan in Beverly, Ohio. (Courtesy photo)

MOUNDSVILLE – A Marshall County jury returned a verdict of nearly $7 million to the family of a Tyler County man who was killed as a result of an explosion at an AEP plan in Beverly, Ohio, in 2007.

The jury found that the negligence of AEP Service Corporation and its subsidiary, Ohio Power Company, resulted in the death of Lewis Timmons on Jan. 8, 2007. The jury's verdict was in the amount of $6,998,940.

"When large corporations don't do things responsibly, they run the risk that someone is going to be seriously hurt or killed," said Geoffrey Brown, an attorney from Bordas & Bordas that represented Timmons' family. "Tragically, in this case, that person was Mr. Timmons. Hopefully, this jury's verdict will cause other companies to think twice in the future before choosing to ignore safety issues at their facilities."

Brown and Chris Regan, another Bordas & Bordas attorney, along with Rod Windom and Scott Windom of Harrisville, represented the Timmons family.

The trial, which spanned two weeks, included testimony from numerous experts, including compressed gas experts.

The explosion was caused by the dangerous conditions on a hydrogen storage tank at the Muskingum River facility and evidence during the trial showed that AEP had experienced a similar explosion at its Kammer Plant in Marshall County approximately 15 months early, but had not taken the steps to correct the problem at the Muskingum River facility following the Kammer explosion.

Circuit Judge David Hummel presided over the case.

This case followed a June verdict returned by a Washington County, Ohio, jury in the amount of nearly $5.7 million to Drumand McLaughlin of Caldwell, Ohio, who sustained injuries in the same explosion. McLaughlin was also represented by Bordas & Bordas and the Windom Law Firm.

"Two juries have found that AEP acted with conscious disregard for human life in this case," Regan said. "Nonetheless, AEP continues to try to evade responsibility and claim that no matter how bad its behavior, it owes nothing to the victims and should face no punishment. We disagree."

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