Five corporations have agreed to pay $400,000 to a woman who was seriously burned when her propane-fueled outdoor grill exploded, injuring her and a neighbor six years ago.
Most of the settlement will be paid by the Modern Manufacturing Co. of Renton, Wash., according to Harry Goldberg, attorney for Josephine Foley and her husband Robert Foley.
The other four defendants, including the Exxon Corp., through whom the Foleys bought the grill, will share in the settlement made yesterday just before the Foley's suit was to be tried in U.S. District Court in Washington.
Mrs. Foley was injured on June 2, 1973, during a cookout at the Foleys' New Carrollton home when the grill, called a Kangaroo Kitchen, exploded, according to Goldberg. A neighbor, Raymond Wiles was also injured and received $7,500 as part of the settlement.
Mrs. Foley, 49, was hospitalized for seven weeks with second and third degree burns, Goldberg said, and suffered permanent injuries to her right hand and wrist that forced her to quit her job as a government secretary. Her husband still works for the government.
William J. Donnelly Jr., who represented the manufacturer and Exxon in the case said the settlement had been reached because the defendants were unwilling to risk having a jury determine the settlement.
"There was conflicting evidence on both sides as to what caused this accident," he said. "This is a very lovely woman and it was a horrible accident. Nobody is saying who is to blame. But there was an element of risk for both sides in having the trial."
Donnely said that since the 1973 incident there have been no further complaints about the Kangaroo Kitchen.