Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest retailer, will pay $25 million as a settlement contribution to resolve a raft of personal injury lawsuits filed by people who were injured or had someone they knew killed by exploding portable plastic gas cans, NBC News reports. Wal-Mart is the largest US retailed of plastic gas cans, and sold tens of millions of Blitz gas cans, which, the lawsuits allege, had a safety defect. Blitz, the manufacturer of the gas cans, is in bankruptcy, largely due to the litigation and settlements.
During the past decade more than 80 lawsuits have been filed by people who allege the exploding gas cans caused them burn injuries. Defendants include some retailers as well as the manufacturer. Wal-Mart told NBC News it's been named as a defendant in 24 of the lawsuits.
In those lawsuits, Blitz and Wal-Mart are accused of knowingly selling a defective product that could explode and produce catastrophic and sometimes fatal injuries. The lawsuits further claim the defendant (Blitz) refused to add a safety device, known as a flame arrester, to make the cans safer.
Parties to the lawsuits, including Blitz USA’s estate, debtors, participating insurers and Walmart, have agreed to contribute $161 million to settle with many of the plaintiffs, while denying liability. Wal-Mart’s settlement contribution amounts to just over 15 percent of the proposed $161 million fund that would settle dozens of lawsuits. A hearing on the proposed settlement is set for early next year NBC News reports.