West Virginia Jury Says AEP Negligent in Fatal 2007 Blast

August 29, 2011

A West Virginia jury has awarded $7 million in damages to the family of a worker killed in a 2007 explosion at an American Electric Power plant in Ohio.

A Marshall County jury found AEP and subsidiary Ohio Power Co. negligent in the death of Lewis Timmons of New Martinsville, The Intelligencer reported in Saturday’s editions.

Punitive damages awarded Friday totaled $5 million. Jurors awarded $2 million in compensatory damages on Wednesday.

Timmons was delivering hydrogen to the Muskingum River Power Plant near Beverly, Ohio, when an explosion occurred in the hydrogen storage area. Timmons was a truck driver for General Hydrogen.

The jury found that General Hydrogen wasn’t liable.

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

Defense attorneys said plant officials were aware of safety issues but they relied on General Hydrogen to maintain the hydrogen storage area.

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