Company Settles Lawsuit With Wife Over Husband's Death

Court records show the wife of a man killed in a 2014 explosion at a fish-processing plant in Mississippi has settled a wrongful death lawsuit.

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PASCAGOULA, Miss. — Court records show the wife of a man killed in a 2014 explosion at a fish-processing plant in Jackson County has settled a wrongful death-lawsuit.

The Sun Herald reports Wednesday the undisclosed settlement is between Katlyn Taylor of the Big Point community and Omega Protein Inc. Her husband, 25-year-old Jerry Lee Taylor II, was welding on top of a metal storage tank when it exploded July 28, 2014, at the plant in Moss Point.

He was thrown 100 feet and landed on another tank. He died, and three others were injured, one seriously.

According to the lawsuit, Jerry Taylor did not receive adequate warnings about flammable hydrogen and sulfide gases in the storage tank he was working on.

His wife was seeking punitive and compensatory damages for wrongful death, pain and suffering, negligence and breach of contract. She was asking for a monetary award to cover burial and interment expenses and had demanded a jury trial. She estimated her husband's lost future earning capacity at $1.4 million.

The settlement was reached Thursday.

Jerry Taylor was a temporary worker hired to cut and weld storage tanks at the plant. Omega had a contract with Accu-Fab & Construction, a metal fabricator, to set up a wastewater-storage tank requiring modifications to existing pipes. The staffing agency Global Employment Services provided Accu-Fab with its employees, including Taylor.

After the settlement was reached, Global Employment Services filed a motion asking to be reimbursed for the $153,442 paid to Katlyn Taylor as part of her husband's worker's compensation insurance coverage. U.S. Magistrate Judge John Gargiulo denied the request.

In the suit, Katlyn Taylor said Omega failed to perform safety inspections or train workers about the hazards of potentially flammable and toxic wastewater, a by-product of the manufacturing process, in the storage tanks Jerry Taylor and others were working on. An Omega engineer reportedly told an Accu-Fab foreman the wastewater was not flammable and that it would cost Omega thousands of dollars to drain the tank.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigated and fined Omega and three others companies more than $187,000.

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