VICKSBURG, Miss. (June 21)—Rouse Polymerics International Inc. is suing Astec Industries Inc. for more than $47 million in damages, claiming Astec was responsible for the May 2002 explosion and fire that destroyed the company, killed five of its workers and seriously injured seven others.
Rouse Polymerics and its president and CEO, Michael Rouse, claim that the ignition source was in the processing and dryer system that Chattanooga-based Astec installed in Rouse Polymerics´ Vicksburg plant. The case was filed May 16, the third anniversary of the disaster, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, Western Division. Astec´s indemnification suit against Rouse Polymerics is still pending in the U.S. District Court in Chattanooga, according to Michael Rouse´s attorneys.
Rouse himself could not immediately be reached for comment. The families of two of the blaze´s victims also sued Rouse Polymerics; it was dismissed as a defendant in one case, attorneys said, but the second case is still pending.