Appeals Court Orders Modified Judgment For Steelmaker
November 10, 2014 — The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled that a multi-million dollar judgment against Pittsburgh-based Wesco Distribution Incorporated as a result of a 2006 steel mill fire at ArcelorMittal in East Chicago be sent back to a local court for an “appropriate”amount.
The steelmaker said Wesco-supplied parts on the brakes on a molten steel ladle that failed were the cause of the shop fire. The shop was closed for at least two weeks.
A trial jury ordered Wesco to pay ArcelorMittal $36-million in damages and an additional three-million in “pre-judgment interest.”
The appellate court decision issued Monday said the judge did not make the errors during the trial that Wesco claimed were made, but the trial court did abuse its discretion in awarding pre-judgment interest to ArcelorMittal. It also called for a re-entry of the final judgment in an appropriate amount.
ArcelorMittal claimed it suffered damages in the total amount of $46,301,777: $12,410,777 in property damage, $3,632,000 in extra expenses and $30,259,000 in lost margins on lost sales. Court documents state that ArcelorMittal invoices showed that the repair cost was only $12-million.
Source: Indiana Cort of Appeals