An interesting article was published today by stltoday.com about several recent lawsuits involving Survivair. The article is quite well researched and raises some important questions. There have three lawsuits against Surivair and its parent company, Sperian Protection, arising out of the deaths of St. Louis firefighters Robert Morrison and Derek Martin, who died at a fire on May 3, 2002.
Laura Morrison, Robert’s widow, sued Survivair alleging his PASS device failed and contributed to his death. Survivair denied it was aware of problems with PASS devices. The case was settled for $3 million in 2006 while the jury was literally out deliberating.
Angela Martin, widow of Derek Martin, sued Survivair claiming his mask’s exhalation valve malfunctioned. She did not settle, and won a $27 million verdict. During the proceeding, evidence surfaced indicating that certain Survivair executives were indeed aware of problems with their products. The issues were apparently so compelling that the jury awarded $15 million in punitive damages to Mrs. Martin. The verdict was upheld on appeal, and the judges included an indicting statement: “Survivair not only inadequately responded to reports of defects, but that they attempted to cover them up. All of this shows Survivair’s conduct was unquestionably reprehensible.”
In a highly unusual move, Laura Morrison filed a second suit against Survivair in 2009, this time alleging fraud and deception in the first case. The stltoday.com article reports that the case settled last fall for $7 million. The article outlines several other cases involving Survivair. Definitely something we’ll be watching.
Hopefully now that Survivair (Sperian Protection) has been purchased by Honeywell the problems that led to these lawsuits are going to be addressed. Remember, lawsuits are not the problem. They are a symptom of a problem. Solve the problem and the lawsuits go away.