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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Melvin Clark was working for Agrium U.S. Inc. when the plate covering a discharge valve on a highly pressurized line he was trying to replace blew off and killed him. Clark’s widow sued. A jury found Agrium had acted with gross negligence and awarded $2 million in exemplary damages to the widow, which was reduced to $1.576 million by the trial court. Agrium appeals. HOLDING:Reversed and rendered. The court notes that in making a finding of gross negligence, a jury must consider all of the circumstances involved and reach a conclusion that the defendant � Agrium � “did not care” about the risk its actions presented. The court then notes that Agrium had a general policy on the way in which employees were supposed to refer defective mechanisms on pressurized lines. The company also had a policy requiring workers to get a safety work permit before attempting repairs such as the one Clark performed. The court acknowledges that there was evidence that workers sometimes did not get the permit as required, but there was no evidence that Agrium condoned this behavior. “It is beyond doubt that other measures could have been taken by all involved to prevent the incident or reduce the risk involved. But what cannot be ignored is the fact that Agrium had in place procedures which obviated the danger inherent in working on pressurized lines. And, we find no evidence of record suggesting that had those procedures been completely followed, the incident would have nonetheless occurred. Nor did we find evidence that like incidents had occurred in the past despite full compliance with the procedures.” OPINION:Quinn, C.J.; Quinn, C.J., and Campbell, JJ.

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