Wrongful Death - Part 2


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Zenaida Presas, et al.  v. Driltech Mission LLC

by John G. Fischer, P.E., Esq.


    Defendant Driltech Mission, L.L.C. is a division of Sandvik, and a part of the Sandvik Mining and Construction Group.  They manufacture drilling rigs and drill bits for oil and gas exploration.  The Driltech Mission DTH division is located in Mansfield, Texas, and is described by the company as "a spacious new manufacturing facility..."

    Defendant V&V Industries, Inc. d/b/a/ 2V Industries, Inc. is a supplier of metalworking fluids including industrial coolants, cleaners, forming compounds, surface treatment chemicals and plant lubricants.  They are located in Wixom, Michigan and employ about 30 workers.  V&V Industries is the compounder of the metalworking fluid SMF 500, which Mr. Presas was allegedly exposed to immediately before his death.

    Defendant Precision Fluids is a Texas Corporation located in Houston.  Precision Fluids is a distributor of SMF 500, distributing the product under the label Synmax 3300.  They allegedly supplied the product to Driltech that Mr. Presas was exposed to.

    Defendant People Source Inc. is a registered corporation in Texas, with a location in Houston.  People Source was the alleged employer  of Mr. Persas, although he was the legal 'Borrowed Servant" of Driltech Mission. 

    Plaintiff Zenaida Presas Sr., is the wife of the deceased.  As to her husband Felipe, well, we still don't know much about him personally yet, except that he had an extended family, he was a veteran of the US Military, and he was operating a machine with Synmax 3300/SMF 500 metalworking fluid in the Driltech Mission facility in Mansfield Texas on  January 16, 2000.  Shortly thereafter, he became very ill and died.  His family has filed the suit on his behalf.

Now raise your hand if you assumed the family has sued all of these parties because that's what you do, sue everyone.  Well, you're wrong.  It was Driltech Mission that named the other Defendants by way of a Third Party Petition.  This is a common legal pleading mechanism that permits a defendant to plead into the case any party they believe is rightfully responsible, or that shares responsibility, over which the Court has jurisdiction.  This is NOT an admission that anyone is responsible, or that wrong has been done at all.  It's just to say, if any wrong was done, they did it, not me.  More accurately, Driltech is pleading that they are entitled to a contribution from the other Defendants for any liability that may be found as a result of the lawsuit.  All of the Defendants have now all been served with their 'Party Invitations.'

The multiple party defense changes many dimensions of a lawsuit.  You can imagine the consequences of a settlement with one party to the omission of the others; the changes in trial and cooperation strategies; even the number of jury strikes to each Defendant must be reallocated under state law.  Everyone hopes for the right outcome, they just differ on what they believe that is.  If the lawyers do their jobs properly, the jury - people just like you, your family members, your neighbors and your coworkers will make the right decision on the basis of the facts that are shown at trial.