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Miami, Okla plant closing featured in documentary - KOAM TV 7

Miami, Okla plant closing featured in documentary

Updated: July 18, 2012 06:16 PM

A Four State factory that produces gas cans and will soon close it's doors is also being featured in a documentary.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been in Miami, Oklahoma this week filming at a factory for a documentary called "Faces of Lawsuit Abuse", focusing on how lawsuits affect a companies overall well being.

Blitz USA has been open for the last 46 years and 117 employees will soon lose their jobs.  The factory announced in November 2011 that it was filing for bankruptcy due to litigations - 42 cases total, one resulting in a $5 million settlement and another for nearly $10 million.

Most cases involve a mix of fire and gasoline.

"A lot of lawsuits where individuals are pouring gasoline onto a fire," says Amanda Emerson or Risk Management.  "We've been putting the labels on for about a year and that would represent about 15 million gas cans a year, going into the marketplace."

Patricia Deaton has been working as a machine operator for the company for the last 12 years and puts labels on the gas cans warning consumers.

"We have cards right on the side of the gas cans that say 'Never mix gas with fire,'" says Deaton.

The crew filming the documentary will be in town for the rest of the week and while they're here they're asking employees about what it has been like working for the company and the plans they have for after Blitz closes.

"They're here this week shooting the documentary to really capture the ripple effect of frivolous law suits, how it just doesn't affect a company and company owners, it affects employees and a whole community," says Emerson.

Emerson says that even though production has increased 100% this last month, these lawsuits will affect the future market for gas cans.

"Until there is a solution on the legal front there will be a continued risk that consumers won't have proper storage for gasoline," says Emerson.

Blitz officials say the documentary should be completed and posted online at FacesOfLawsuitAbuse.org in August.

Next week the company plans on hosting a job fair for the employee's before closing July 31st.

CORRECTION:  It was initially reported the documentary was done by the U.S. Department of Commerce.  In fact, the documentaries are being produced by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which is not a government entity and receives no taxpayer money.  Funds are provided through voluntary contributions from private businesses.

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