Insurance company seeks to cut off liability in death of sheriff’s deputy killed in line of duty

The insurance company representing the business where Richmond County Sheriff Sgt. Greg Meagher died trying to save an employee is contending it shouldn’t be responsible for any civil liability.

 

Evanston Insurance Co. filed suit in U.S. District Court on Oct. 26 seeking a declaration that it has no obligation to defend Xytex Tissue Services in the lawsuit filed on behalf of Meagher’s children. The federal lawsuit also names Lindsey, Mary and Emma Meagher as defendants.

Meagher died Feb. 5 after responding along with other officers to a burglary alarm at Xytex, a sperm bank at 1100 Emmitt St. Xytex employee Anita Wylds, who also responded to the alarm, went into the building to turn off valves of the tank containing liquid nitrogen. When she didn’t come out, Meagher went in after her.

Wylds survived but was severely injured. Meagher, 57, suffocated in the nitrogen gas filled building. A Richmond County Superior Court lawsuit was filed in August. It alleges Xytex, Airgas USA, Chart Industries Inc. and Carolina Piping Services were negligent and that negligence led to Meagher’s death.

In the insurance company’s lawsuit, it contends that while Xytex has liability insurance, it specifically excludes any liability caused by pollutants, or hazardous or toxic materials.

In August the Georgia Department of Insurance and Safety Fire fined Airgas $300,000 for failing to have the tanks at Xytex re-inspected and change the decalintended to show the pressure inside them. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined Xytex $30,000.

According to the civil lawsuit filed on behalf of Meagher’s children, because the decal was not changed, an Airgas deliveryman incorrectly filled the liquid nitrogen tank on Feb. 5, causing the pressure relief values to open.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com.

 

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Sat, 11/25/2017 - 00:06

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