Parasite lawyers close Blitz USA, kill over 100 American jobs in Miami, Ok.

July 31, 2012
By

The BlitzUSA plant in Miami, Ok

Blitz USA, closes its doors today and with that closing puts over a 100 decent, hard working Americans in Miami, Oklahoma out of a job.

Who’s this “Blitz USA” and why should you care?

Do you have one of those plastic red gas cans lying around?  Odds are if you look close enough you’ll find that it was made by Blitz USA right here in the heartland of America at the Miami, Oklahoma factory.

But Blitz isn’t closing due to mismanagement, high labor costs, the recession, or some evil private equity firm like Bain Capital unable to reap the desired return on investment.

No, it is an evil far worse than private equity that is forcing the closure of a truly American business.

The very same company who supplied who knows how many thousands of jerry cans United States military forces across the globe during World War II has finally been defeated right here on American soil; defeated by a mentality that rewards bad behavior and punishes honest, hard working small businesses just trying to make a product that people want.

The company may have survived Hitler, Tojo, Mussolini and later Stalin, but it could not withstand the barrage thrown against it by the worst of the worst within American society today:  product liability lawyers.

Seems that Blitz’s “crime” was twofold:

First, the company never imagined just how stupid some people can be.

Second, the company never imagined that even though it complied with all established regulations and provided ample warning and safety labeling, a few greedy trial lawyers would be able to abuse the tort system and line their pockets with millions in damages.

The individual cases may have different names but they all revolve around a basic action:  STUPID people using a Blitz gas can to either start a fire or the REALLY STUPID people actually POURING gasoline from the can onto an OPEN FLAME.

Said stupid behavior resulted in gasoline vapors igniting and flowing into the gas can whereby said gas can explodes and cause horrific burns to the IDIOT holding the can at the time.

Yes, the incidents are tragic.  Yes, the pictures are horrific.  Yes, the pain and suffering unimaginable.

But ALL could have been avoided if the IDIOTS would not have MISUSED the product.

Not that long ago, the blame would have been placed squarely at the feet of the stupidity of the idiots pouring that gasoline on an open flame.

But not today, not in this day and age of “contingency” lawyers trolling the country for any and every possible buck that can be made off blaming a company rather than the idiot.

And so it was, that four of these trolls (there may be more but these four are the most prevalent that come up in searches) took those horrific pictures and paraded their clients in front of sympathetic juries and convinced said juries that it was Blitz’s fault their cans were misused and exploded.

The website www.tortreform.com sums it up in it’s July 22, 2012 piece “The Tort Bar Burns On”:

Until recently, Blitz USA—the nation’s No. 1 consumer gasoline-can producer, based in Miami, Oklahoma—was doing fine. It’s a commoditized, low-margin business, but it’s steady. Sales normally pick up when hurricane season begins and people start storing fuel for back-up generators and the like.

Blitz USA has controlled some 75% of the U.S. market for plastic gas cans, employing 117 people in that business, and had revenues of $60 million in 2011.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has never deemed Blitz’s products unsafe.

Then the trial attorneys hit on an idea with trial-lawyer logic: They could sue Blitz when someone poured gas on a fire (for instance, to rekindle the flame) and the can exploded, alleging that the explosion is the result of defects in the can’s design as opposed to simple misuse of the product. Plaintiffs were burned, and in some cases people died……

According to the article, just three attorneys were responsible for over 30 lawsuits:

Hank Anderson of Wichita Falls, Texas; Diane Breneman of Kansas City, Missouri; and Terry Richardson of Barnwell, South Carolina. And the Corner has identified as least one more, a Ryan Zehl, of Houston.  (As a public service, the Corner includes pics of each of these parasites at the end of the column.)

If you’re not fuming by now, read on, you soon will be.

Adding insult to injury of Blitz’s forced closing today is that the ill named “American Association for Justice”, (Formerly known as the Association of Trial Lawyers of America), finishes its four day summer convention as well today.

The full conference schedule shows just how low the once highly honored profession of “the law” has sunk. There is not a pocket lining, money grubbing, and job destroying opportunity not covered.

From the “toning shoes litigation group” to the “bicycle litigation group” to the “denture cream” to the “resort tort litigation group” there is not one aspect of American life that is not a target of one “group” or another.

But what’s most disgusting, is that after shuttering Blitz and putting 117 fellow Americans out of work and sending a small town economy into who knows how deep a downturn, these low life actually have the gall to include in their little “gala of greed” a “gas can litigation group”.

It’s not enough to be satisfied with the damage already done, the lives they’ve already destroyed, oh no, these lowest of the low are actually strategizing on how to wring MORE money from the next company.

Where are you Mr. President?  Where are you Joe Biden?  What say you Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Dick Durbin, Chuck Schumer, Debbie Wasserman-Shultz and the rest of your pack who claim to “care so much” about the “average American worker” who’s just trying to get a “fair shot”?

Where the hell are all of you? You’re certainly not in Miami, Oklahoma asking those poor workers what you can do to help.

This company broke no laws, abided by all safety standards and warnings currently in place, yet is put out of business because a few blood sucking lawyers hatched a good scheme.

Just where are you indeed?  Never mind, we already know.  You’re all in your backrooms counting your campaign contributions.  Because no matter how many times they change their name, they’re still trial lawyers and they’re still one of the largest contributing groups to your Democrat Party.

So the next time you hear a lib bashing the Republicans for being “only for the rich” and being nothing but “obstructionists” to Obama and the dems, ask them just how “rich” those attorneys are that put 117 fellow Americans out of work just because they could.

Below you will find four of the worst of the worst that American society has to offer:

Hank Anderson discusses gas can litigation with Valeri Stiers Malone

 

Diane Breneman

 

Terry Richardson, Jr.

 

Ryan Zehl

 

Think any of these parasites ever give a second thought to the people they just put out of work and the lives they just destroyed?

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13 Responses to Parasite lawyers close Blitz USA, kill over 100 American jobs in Miami, Ok.

  1. Mary McKenna on July 31, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    Blitz is owned by a billion dollar, Wall Street private equity firm called Kinderhook. Kinderhook leveraged Blitz to the hilt and took millions in management fees. After making a product that burns and kills people – mostly kids – instead of fixing the product for a few cents a can, Blitz decided to take bankruptcy and leave both their vendors and the people they burned high and dry. Their CEO walked off with a large pay day and rumor has it, Blitz gas cans will be made now by their subsidiary in Canada in an effort to avoid their responsibilities in the United States. This is not about bad lawyers but private equity firms that apparently intend to ship jobs out of the country while destroying the lives of workers and employees.

    • Geoff Caldwell on August 1, 2012 at 6:41 am

      Mary,

      First, thanks for stopping by, but this is EXACTLY about bad lawyers scheming for their own pockets while the workers get put on unemployment line.

      Blitz was doing just fine BEFORE the lawsuits but NOW it’s private equity’s fault. Defies logic.

      I live in Joplin and was a neighbor to a mid level manager who was lucky enough to get out last year. Had to move three states over but at least he’s not just out on the street today.

      Blitz had no intention to ship those jobs overseas, they’d been in Miami for decades and would have stayed in Miami.

      And as for their products “killing” people.

      Well when you’ve got people pouring gasoline on open flame are these really the ones we want to leave in the gene pool?

      Yes, that sounds harsh. But it’s not nearly as cruel as what these four parasites did to the workers at Blitz.

      It matters not a dime how “much” that part cost.

      Blitz had a design that worked, a design that people liked, and a design that was quite safe. (As long as you weren’t STUPID enough to misuse the can in a way never intended and WARNED not to.)

      As I said in the piece it wasn’t that long ago in this country when those lawyers would have never been allowed in a court room for such disgraceful behavior.

      There was also a time not that long ago that people who did stupid things, while some having tragic and sad endings, were just that: stupid people doing stupid things.

      There weren’t pocket lining trolls lining up to sue the big bad “corporation” and make them “pay” for their bad behavior.

      The only bad behavior here are the selfish lawyers who have added quite nicely to their own personal bank accounts at the expense of 117 hard working Americans.

      As my column states:
      “This company broke no laws, abided by all safety standards and warnings currently in place, yet is put out of business because a few blood sucking lawyers hatched a good scheme.” AND “The Consumer Product Safety Commission has never deemed Blitz’s products unsafe.”

      A few lawyers cooking up their own scam to bilk millions out of a company that was bothering no one (except a few idiots), provided stable employment, and contributed to the community economy is not what most Americans consider patriotic, honest work.

      They see it for what it is: self-serving trial lawyers twisting the system for money, parasites who make their living off others.

      When these four put up their own money to re-open the plant and put those people back to work making and selling the “re-design” they demanded would magically “fix” everything, then I’ll eat my words.

      But we both know that isn’t going to happen. They got their money, the’re done. Who the hell cares about the damage they left behind. Their bank accounts are fine why should they lose a second of sleep over the 117 now unemployed because of their greed?

      After all, suing for your own stupid behavior is now the new American way isn’t it?

      Again, thanks for stopping by, but the “private equity” bad bull shit doesn’t fly in this blog. Especially when you’re talking about a stable, viable company until the four parasites of the courtroom rode into town.

    • Jenkem Jones on September 28, 2013 at 9:52 am

      Why don’t you throw some gas on a bonfire.

  2. Lucy on August 9, 2012 at 8:47 am

    What ever happened to assumed liability? This would have never happened if it wasn’t for American greed and everyone suing everyone for their own stupidity. This was 95% at fault by the user of the can, 50% of whom were probably drunk around a campfire. What idiot pours gas on an open flame and then thinks it is the gas cans fault it explodes? Of course it’s going to explode…it’s gasoline you moron! Use lighter fluid like the rest of us with a registrable IQ score. The other 5% lies on the greed of lawyers who took these morons and convinced them they aren’t stupid and if the gas can would have been designed better they wouldn’t have been burned.
    My husband did his internship at Blitz for EHS. I feel bad for Anne and the others and hope they find new jobs soon.

    • Geoff Caldwell on August 9, 2012 at 9:37 am

      Lucy,
      Thank you for visiting the Corner. I couldn’t agree more with your comment.
      I feel so bad for all those employees and their families that they are now unemployed for no other reason than the ignorance of the idiots and the greed of the lawyers.
      The ONLY thing that might help at this point is exposure, exposure, exposure. Please pass this story on to as many as you can and ask them to pass on as well.
      Maybe, just maybe, someone, somewhere, with the power, money and connections to right this wrong will be moved by the story to do just that: the right thing.
      Thanks again for visiting.
      Geoff

  3. Suzanne on August 13, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    The trial bar attacks any business it thinks will cough up money in its raids. The latest victim is Blitz USA who make thoses red plastic gasoline cans. Blitz has been making gas cans for close to 50 years now and just recently the money hungry lawyers targeted them. These trial lawyers hit on an idea with trial-lawyer logic: They could sue Blitz when someone poured gas on a fire (for instance, to rekindle the flame) and the can exploded, alleging that the explosion is the result of defects in the can’s design as opposed to simple misuse of the product. The lawsuits began flooding in last year after a few big payouts.
    The tort-lawsuit riders leading the assault on Blitz included attorneys Hank Anderson of Wichita Falls, Texas; Diane Breneman of Kansas City, Missouri; and Terry Richardson of Barnwell, South Carolina. All told, they’ve been involved in more than 30 lawsuits against Blitz in recent years. The rest of the plastic-can industry can’t be far behind, so long as there’s any cash flow available.
    Hurricane season is here, and the demand for gas cans rises around 30%. If consumers can’t find the cans, fuel will be carried around in heavy metal containers or in dangerous alternatives, such as coolers.
    One of the law suits was due to a man living in a trailer with his children. He removed the lid of the gas can and layed it on his front porch (which would mean a flame arrestor would not have helped anyway). He then brought the gas can in to his home filling his trailer with gas fumes. He then carried his can filled with gasoline to his wood burning stove and poured gasoline on the fire. This is what caused the explosion! Not the gas can! The fumes also caught fire as it would in any case involving gasoline in an enclosed building. He and his little girl both caught on fire. He first put the flames out on his little girl and then ran outside (alone) to put the flames out on himself. Instead of getting his children out he left them in the burning building. Even after he put the flames out on himself, he didn’t go in for his children, he ran to a nearby river so he could jump in it to relieve his pain. Only when he realized that the river was frozen, did he go back to his house. The little girl did not make it out of the burning house. His other child who was there did make it out with minor injuries. Yes, this is a horrific tragedy and every single person at Blitz USA are human beings with feelings just like anyone else in the world. How dare you say they did not show any concern. Everyone felt concern for this innocent little girls life. Because Blitz defended itself in court does not even come close to you being so pig headed as to say they showed no concern. Seems you lawers are the ones who show no concern for anyone or anything other than linning your pockets with as much money as you can squeeze out of businesses. Taking jobs from so many American people who did absolutly nothing wrong at all except go to work everyday to support their families and community. You have taken this away and show no concern what so ever. This father made a terrible mistake by not adhearing to the (over 31 warnings) on the gas can or putting in to use what he has surely been taught all his life, gasoline and fire do not mix and never will mix. Another thing just fyi: A flame arrestor is not required when there is no spark or flame, ie a filling station has no flame arestor. Will you go after them next if someone blows up because they are standing there smoking while pumping gas or talking on their cell phones? More than likely you absolutely will! All the gas cans I have ever seen specifically state do not use near flame or spark among so many other warnings. “The fact of the matter is there is no device that can make it safe to pour gasoline on a fire,”. If you are so sure a flame arrestor would stop a gas can from exploding while you pour fuel on to an open flame, prove that! It’s not a matter of spending the amount that would be required to add them to all fuel containers, it has never been shown that a flame arrestor would help at all in a case where product MISUSE is at fault. Do you realize the millions of gas cans that Blitz has sold to consumers including the military? How many of the multi millions of people who purchased these containers blew themselfves up or hurt themselves or loved ones? I have used Blitz cans for 40 years or more and have never had a problem. So have the multi millions of people in this world. Our country needs to stop these lawyers from cashing in on frivolous law suits such as this. There is not one business out there in America who is safe from these money hungry attornies and if we don’t do something now to stop them, we may all be out of work because of business having to defend themselves. Please people, we need to start standing up and demanding justice for our businesses.

  4. Suzanne on August 13, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    In my comment above, I was speaking to these lawyers who show no regard for anyone. I had just recently read a comment from one of these money hungry lawyers who said Blitz had no concern for the injured. They also said a flame arestor would stop the accidents from happening. Just wanted to clarify who I was speaking to. Blitz auction is the first week of Sept. Please pray with us that someone buys Blitz and puts the employees back to work! It is just so hard for all of us.

  5. Geoff Caldwell on August 13, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    Suzanne,
    I understand, agree completely and have had all in my prayers since first hearing of the tragedy.
    Spread this column and any other stories you can find to as many as you can. Maybe someone, somewhere who can help will read them and be moved to act.
    Thank you for stopping by the Corner.
    Geoff

  6. dave on September 13, 2012 at 11:45 pm

    As long as we keep electing lawers to government office we will never get the tort reform this country needs to free up business capitol to devote to inovation and creating jobs.

  7. Jim on September 15, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    This country is long since done. Escape if you can. What surprises me is how long it is taking so many to figure this out. Problem is the whole world knows it except the majority of us. Never before has this countries citizens been so weak against their government as now. Luckily for them, they’ve dummed down a good majority of the population on this ship of fools.

    • jim on September 15, 2012 at 4:30 pm

      Just as a follow-up. NBC had this article on December 30, 2011 about the freest country in the world. This was just one year set for Jan 1.nnn”Across the US, 40,000 new federal, state and local laws are set to go into effect, ranging from states requiring ID’s to vote, minimum wage hikes and rules for light bulbs. NBC’s Pete Williams reports.”nnnThis is a yearly thing lately. I’ve given up on all those Americans who love to tell me how free I am here in America. Try again, I don’t think so. BTW 1 in 4 prisoners in the world are here in America. We have more people in prisons then any country in the world by percentage, by population and by numbers. 1 in 30 are on on parole. Sheep for slaughter…

  8. Michael on October 19, 2012 at 2:04 am

    nA JURY awarded millions in liability and punitive damages. A JURY of randomly selected US citizens. Once again statistically proving the majority of people in America today feel it’s the job of companies and government to protect people FROM THEIR OWN STUPIDITY.

  9. Melissa on November 5, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    If only we could figure out a way to sue these lawyer scum into bankruptcy!

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