WAYNE COUNTY, Mich. – A Wayne County jury returned a verdict of over $8 million against the Northville Moose Lodge and Leonard's Syrups for the wrongful death of Mary Katherine Simpson, the law office of Geoffrey Fieger announced Friday.
Simpson died in October 2014. She was 48. The jury heard two weeks of testimony and deliberated for two hours before returning its verdict.
Simpson died in the basement of the Moose Lodge as a result of carbon dioxide poisoning. The poisoning was the result of a malfunction in the soda pop syrup system, which discharged an entire tank of carbon dioxide into the Moose Lodge basement.
The pump that malfunctioned was supposed to be vented to the outside of the building by a hose. Instead it was negligently installed without venting, so, in the case of a malfunction, the C02 stayed in the basement.
Simpson was a Moose Lodge volunteer who had gone into the basement to change soda pop syrup cartons that were connected to the malfunctioning pump. She was overcome by the odorless and colorless gas and died five days later of severe brain damage from lack of oxygen.
"For five years, the Northville Moose Lodge and Leonard's Syrups have tried to evade responsibility, even though the police and MOISHA investigated and found that an improperly vented pipe was responsible for this preventable tragedy. The jury had no trouble finding the truth," Fieger said.