Judge drops case against concrete additive maker

Judge drops case against concrete additive makerLawyer for plaintiffs says claim against track and builder still strongA judge Monday dismissed the case against one of three defendants in a $27 million lawsuit over the May 2000 pedestrian bridge collapse at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.Nearly six weeks after attorneys made opening statements in the trial, Superior Court Judge Erwin Spainhour tossed out the case against New Jersey-based Anti-Hydro International Inc. Anti-Hydro makes a substance that experts agreed caused the corrosion of steel cables inside the walkway’s support beams.That leaves Lowe’s Motor Speedway and Tindall Corp., which built the pedestrian bridge, as the co-defendants in the lawsuit.The plaintiffs, Cindy and Marty Taylor and their son, Brody Wright, of Nelson County, Va., say a series of construction mistakes and negligence caused the bridge over U.S. 29 to fall after The Winston all-star race May 20, 2000.The Taylors both suffered brain injuries, many broken bones and emotional distress, and each has undergone several surgeries, according to their attorney.Their attorney, Marvin Blount Jr. of Greenville, rested his case Monday before Anti-Hydro was dismissed from the lawsuit.Anti-Hydro makes an additive that accelerates concrete’s drying time. Tindall used the additive to make the grout at the bridge’s center dry more quickly. But the additive contained calcium chloride, a compound that corrodes steel.Tindall had used steel to reinforce the bridge.In his Jan. 31 opening statement, Blount blamed Anti-Hydro for not revealing on its label that the additive contained calcium chloride.Even so, Anti-Hydro attorney Dixie Wells said in her opening statement, the directions on the grout container were clear: “The mixing instructions said, ‘Do not add anything but potable water,’ ” she said. “Anti-Hydro is not water.”Blount did not argue Monday when Anti-Hydro lawyers moved to dismiss the case against them.He said that he included Anti-Hydro as a defendant early in the lawsuit but that as the evidence unfolded, he expected the company would be dismissed from it.”It has no effect on the case we laid out,” Blount said. “Our primary focus is against the speedway and Tindall. That’s where we think the evidence is very strong.”The Taylors’ case is the first of dozens to go to trial. It could signal how much money — if any — juries are willing to award people hurt in the fall.The collapse injured 107 people. Of those, 61 sued; at least 12 have settled out of court.Bruce Kreielsheimer, director of operations for Anti-Hydro, said he hoped the other lawsuits naming his company as a co-defendant would have similar outcomes.”We want to thank the judge for his decision …,” he said. “I’m thrilled.”

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