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September 2023

Arkansas Gordon & Rees Litigation Team Obtains Non-Suit in Wrongful Death Dispute for Chemical Manufacturer Client

An Arkansas Gordon & Rees litigation team, consisting of Partners P. Saxon Guerriere and Haley M. Heath and Associates Dean Y. Drew and Cienna B. Hancock, successfully secured a non-suit for their client, a leading North American producer of industrial and agricultural chemicals.

The lawsuit arose from the death of a truck driver as a result of an ammonium nitrate explosion outside of Camden, Arkansas that made national news and was investigated by federal agencies such as Homeland Security and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. The plaintiff filed a complaint on behalf of the driver of the third-party carrier in the Circuit Court of Union County, Arkansas, alleging claims for strict products liability, wrongful death, negligence, and gross negligence.

The parties attempted to mediate the case early on, prior to conducting extensive discovery, with no success, as the plaintiff issued an initial nine-figure demand. Thereafter, the parties conducted extensive written discovery and took dozens of depositions of both fact and expert witnesses. Through this extensive discovery, Gordon & Rees was able to establish evidence of no duty owed by the client to the plaintiff, the plaintiff’s assumption of risk, and the plaintiff’s contributory negligence to his alleged injuries. The discovery of such evidence prompted Gordon & Rees to file summary judgment on behalf of the client for all claims alleged by the plaintiff.

In light of the client’s favorable factual and legal position, at the 11th hour prior to the hearing on the motion for summary judgment, the plaintiff voluntarily non-suited all claims against the client.

This favorable result, after almost four years of hard-fought litigation in a high-profile wrongful death case, is a testament to the Gordon & Rees team’s dedication and an example of the firm’s commitment to fighting for their clients in all circumstances, no matter where the need arises.

Dean Y. Drew
P. Saxon Guerriere
Cienna B. Hancock
Haley M. Heath