Oklahoma maker of plastic gas cans will close July 31

Blitz U.S.A. CEO Rocky Flick says frivolous litigation ignited a series of lawsuits that has led the Ottawa County gas can manufacture to announce it will close July 31.
BY SHEILA STOGSDILL Published: July 24, 2012
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“The insurance company thought it was best to settle,” Flick said. “The first lawsuit settled for around $1 million, the last lawsuit for around $10 million, but most of the lawsuits were between $5 (million) to $10 million.”

The company went to trial on two cases, winning one and losing the other, a $4 million verdict involving the death of a child.

The jury found Blitz 70 percent liable, Flick said.

The girl, 4, was living in an unheated camper in Utah when her father poured gasoline into a woodstove, which ignited, Flick said. The child and her father caught on fire, the father ran out of the camper and left the child inside while he tried to put flames out that were on him, Flick said. The case is on appeal.

Flick said Blitz has about 70 percent of the market selling the gasoline containers.

Miriam George, risk management supervisor, said several employees who started with the company when they were 18 years old are still there at 59. “They thought they would be here until they retired,” she said.

About 20 employees have been with the company more than 30 years, she said.

George said the company is providing employees with employment assistance in rebounding and securing another job.