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Payer & Associates Miami Injury Lawyer 305-854-4442

Trucking Company Asks Judge To Seal Documents In Wrongful Death


The residents of a sleepy Oklahoma town were awakened by a blast many believed was an earthquake. Instead, it was the sound of a tanker exploding as a contractor worked to repair it. The company that had control over the tanker was sued by the family of the worker. The family blamed the company for exposing the worker to a known danger without mediating the risk or even warning the contractor.

OSHA reviewed the situation and issued 3 citations against the company and levied a $10,000 fine. The family blames the company that owned the tanker for assuring the victim that it was safe to work on prior to the explosion.

The defendant is asking the judge to seal documents related to OSHA’s incident report, the citations, and the original complaint. They have argued that the documents could unfairly taint the jury pool against the defendant.

The plaintiffs are vehemently rejecting the request to seal the charging documents filed by OSHA. They characterized the attempt to seal the documents as an effort to bury the truth.

Will they get the documents sealed? 

It depends on the political climate of the state in which the lawsuit has been filed and whether or not its local economy is built on trucking. Efforts to protect the trucking industry from so-called “nuclear verdicts” have resulted in efforts to bifurcate trials into negligence portions and damages portions. It is believed that jurors hate trucking companies so much that they want to punish them as strongly as possible. However, allegations in these cases tend to be damning and trucking companies refuse to take responsibility even after the verdict is read.

If the court thinks that the trucking company needs to be protected from the truth, then he will seal the documents to avoid the jurors being exposed to OSHA’s reports. It’s a bold move, but ultimately, the court will consider the request, and even if it rejects the request, the defendant has a little more time.

Ultimately, Firestone created the danger that took a man’s life, so they don’t have a defense. Lawsuits in which a contractor was exposed to a foreseeable danger without forewarning will always resolve in favor of the plaintiff. However, the defendant can claim the plaintiff had forewarning. Whether or not a jury believes them is a different matter.

All we know is that the tanker exploded while it was being serviced. That means it still had stored energy in it. Ultimately, the responsibility for that stored energy falls on those who have control over it. That’s the company. Obviously, the tanker should have been emptied prior to servicing.

Talk to a Miami Personal Injury Lawyer Today 

Payer Law represents the interests of injured Miami residents in personal injury lawsuits. Call our Miami personal injury lawyers today to schedule a free consultation and we can begin discussing your lawsuit immediately.


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