Jackson Walker Successfully Defends Client in Wrongful Death Action

January 15, 2015 | Client Results

Jackson Walker achieved a total victory on behalf of client TMK IPSCO in a wrongful death action. The case involved a 48-year-old man who was killed in an oilfield accident when 200 feet of tubing — allegedly manufactured by IPSCO — shot out of the well, fatally striking him in the head. After exhaustive discovery and metallurgical testing over the course of more than two years, Jackson Walker proved that IPSCO’s tubing was not defective. The court granted the firm’s traditional motion for summary judgment and subsequently granted its motion to sever.

Jackson Walker was also successful on its motion to dismiss a cross-claim for statutory indemnity filed by the distributor / seller of IPSCO’s tubing. The distributor, who was also dismissed via summary judgment, argued that it was an “innocent seller” under Chapter 82 of the Texas Civil Practices and Remedies Code and was entitled to the costs of its defense. IPSCO filed a motion to dismiss based upon a contractual forum selection clause, which required that the distributor bring any legal action related to the contract in Pennsylvania. The distributor argued—based upon the language of Chapter 82—that its statutory claim for indemnity was independent from and, thus, not related to the contract. Because the contract contained the very broad “related to” language (whereby the claim need only touch on matters related to the agreement) rather than the more restrictive “hereunder” or “arising under” language, the court granted IPSCO’s motion to dismiss. To date, the distributor / seller has neither appealed nor re-filed its indemnity claim in Pennsylvania, and if it was to re-file, it would likely be bound by a choice-of-law provision requiring the application of Pennsylvania law, which does not have a similar innocent seller statute.

TMK IPSCO was represented by a Jackson Walker team led by Tim Leonard and Maryellen Shea, with assistance from Richard Howell, William Stowe and Judy Minter. The successful result in this case demonstrates the strength of Jackson Walker’s Litigation practice, which has developed a reputation as the “go to” trial firm for many clients in complex or bet-the-company cases in Texas and across the U.S. and was recently named Litigation Department of the Year in 2013 by Texas Lawyer magazine.

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