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Family of man killed by severe burns suffered at N. Charleston Kapstone paper mill settles lawsuit

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (From news reports) -- The family of a man killed by severe burns suffered in 2015 at the Kapstone Paper Mill in North Charleston has settled their wrongful workplace death lawsuit.

43-year-old Brian Allen was on a lift performing welding work above several tanks that should have contained non-flammable sodium hydrosulfide fluid.

However, experts for the plaintiffs say they discovered at least one of the tanks contained gasoline, which ignited and severely burned Allen. He survived for eight months before dying from his injuries.

After his death, the family filed the wrongful death lawsuit against the sodium hydrosulfide company, and the company that transported it. The Kapstone Paper Mill was not a defendant.

"An intense three-year litigation battle can be very difficult emotionally for a family which has already experienced a traumatic workplace injury and death," said Provost Umphrey partner James E. Payne, who represented Allen's family. "This resolution will allow Kristie and the rest of the family to put the litigation behind them and try to focus on the positive memories of Brian as best as they can."

The terms of the settlement are confidential, but the family's lawyers say it was one of the largest single-plaintiff judgements in South Carolina history.

"Kristie Allen and the Allen family suffered a great loss," said attorney Matthew Matheny, who also represented the family. "We are very pleased that the settlement will financially serve Mrs. Allen and her family for many years to come. After a long and contentious litigation, a degree of justice has been served."

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