Boston Tunnel Accident

The Massachusetts Water Authority contracted to build a nine-mile effluent tunnel under the seabed in Boston Harbor. The final phase of the nine-year project involved removing safety plugs in the walls of the tunnel which then would allow the treated effluent to exit into the ocean. This required workers to travel to the end of the tunnel where there was no lighting, power or ventilation. The workers relied on a unique supplied-air system, which ultimately failed. As a result, two workers died and the three others sustained injuries. Our client was the primary insurer of the diving firm hired to perform the project. The casualty produced a bet-the-company situation for the diving company whose exposure was estimated at $10-$20 million much of which was uninsured. Montgomery McCracken orchestrated “reverse bifurcated settlement techniques” persuading both plaintiffs and co-defendants to first conduct discovery on the plaintiffs’ damages and then pursue mediation which resulted in a global settlement among all parties and their insurers. For the diving company the settlement was within policy limits thus assuring the continuing viability of the diving company.