By: Michael Seinberg
Last summer saw the official demise of Blitz USA, until then, the largest maker of gas cans in the US. The company claims that they were forced to declare bankruptcy as a result of lawsuits by people injured after misusing Blitz products in a variety of shockingly dangerous ways.
Plaintiffs’ lawyers claim that installing an arrestor device would have lowered the risk of fires and explosions. The idea is that the arrestor, a piece of metal mesh located in the spout, would prevent the liquid gas and vapors still in the can from catching on fire if the user was reckless enough to ignore all warnings (and common sense) and pour gas directly on an open flame.
Blitz executives had discussed adding such a device but eventually decided against it– ironically, due to concerns that it might give end users a false sense of security and cause even more accidents and more lawsuits. The company even repeatedly asked the Consumer Product Safety Commission to regulate their products – yet the commission declined. The lawyers, of course, claim that Blitz chose not to include an arrestor simply to maximize profits and save money, proving they were evil and greedy (unlike trial lawyers who only work for the good of the client with no thought whatsoever to their 33 percent cut).
The bottom line here is that when making any product, there will always be someone foolish enough to abuse or misuse it and then try and blame their stupidity on the maker of the product. Further, there will always be a trial attorney ready to snap on the feed-bag and take it to court. The razing of Blitz was an all too familiar situation; recall the demise of over 80 American companies due to asbestos litigation over the past decades. But there is hope.
A Canadian plastics manufacturer called Sceptor has paid $9.5 million for the Blitz factory in Miami, OK. The manufacturer plans to reopen the factory and hire back at least some of the 117 people who were put out of work when the 46-year-old company was shuttered. Sceptor does not use arrestors in the cans it makes and sells in Canada, but may do so in the US, as they quickly became familiar with the litigious nature of this country after settling a lawsuit here last year.
Let’s hope the trial lawyers don’t roast this phoenix before it has a chance to spread its wings.