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Manufacturer of gas cans may be protected from liability suits

When a person in Illinois uses a gasoline canister, she or he should not be concerned about the safety of the product. Despite this, one of the largest manufacturers of gas cans in the U.S. has been hit with product liability lawsuits year after year and is now blaming those suits for its predicted bankruptcy.

The company in question is Blitz USA, and it manufactures more gasoline containers than any other organization in the country. Currently, Blitz is hoping that it will be protected from accountability for its reportedly defective products after it files for bankruptcy. Some experts believe this should not be allowed but it is not clear how things will play out.

Many have questions about whether Blitz would still be afloat if the company simply spent a little more on each canister it created to make sure that proper safety precautions were in place. One specific precaution that could have been taken that many believe would have prevented the catastrophic burns that some victims have experienced is the addition of flame arrestors to lessen the possibility for an explosion. According to estimates, this would tack on less than a dollar to the manufacturing expense of each can.

Reports indicate that Blitz made 15 million gas cans each year. If safety precautions were added, this would cost the company less than $15 million on an annual basis. According to one expert, the company has been involved in three to seven lawsuits each year since it opened its doors nearly five decades ago. The costs of these suits in the form of damages has more than likely cost the company more on an annual basis than the safety precautions, highlighting the possibility that some have indicated -- Blitz's goal to save money has risked the personal safety of consumers.

If the company goes bankrupt, approximately 400 people will be left without a job and it may be protected from future lawsuits. Many believe that this should not be the case. Those people believe that Blitz should be liable for the damage caused by its products regardless of whether it files for bankruptcy or not.

Source: Legal Examiner, "Blitz Could Have Prevented Burn Injuries and Lawsuits By Making Safer Products," Claude Wyle, Sept. 10, 2012

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