Christian & Small Client Held Not Liable, Dismissed from Lawsuit Settlement

Christian & Small recently defended a lawsuit initiated by two plaintiffs who had entered into a contract to construct six anchor handling towing supply vessels. In conjunction with the construction of the vessel, the plaintiffs purchased generator engines from an engine manufacturer and sold by the manufacturer’s Alabama distributor.

In connection with the construction of the vessel, the plaintiffs also entered into a contract with our client, who agreed to supply the equipment and supervision for the installation and commissioning of an integrated AC electrical propulsion, dynamic positioning and vessel automation system. In May 2008, a fire broke out on the subject vessel in the engine room while our client was in the process of starting the engines in order to synchronize both the engines and the generators. The fire burned for 24 hours, resulting in the total loss of the subject ship just prior to its completion.

The plaintiffs filed suit against the engine manufacturer, distributor of the engine and our client, alleging that both the engine and the equipment provided by all defendants were defective – thereby contributing to the cause of the fire.

During the course of the four years of litigation, 40 depositions were taken – including more than a dozen expert depositions. The case also involved the production of hundreds of thousands of pages of both hard-copy and electronically-stored information. As the case developed, it appeared that the lawsuit had a potential for seeking damages in excess of $100 million in compensatory damages alone.

The case between the engine manufacturer and the plaintiffs ultimately settled, and our firm’s client was dismissed and contributed nothing to the settlement of the case. Christian & Small attorneys associated with the various levels of the case included  James B. Carlson, Edgar M. Elliott, Sharon D. Stuart, W. Steven Nichols, Jonathan M. Hooks, Abbott M. Jones and Deborah Alley Smith.