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Big Dig Epoxy Supplier Agrees to Pay $16 Million to Resolve State Criminal and Civil Cases

On December 17, 2008, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office (MAGO) announced that they had reached an agreement with Powers Fasteners, Incorporated, (PFI), Brewster, New York resolving state criminal manslaughter and pending civil claims in connection with the I–90 Connector Tunnel Ceiling Collapse that occurred on July 10, 2006. The investigation determined that the cause of the ceiling collapse was the use of PFI’s Fast Set epoxy product to secure the bolts anchoring the bracket system for the I–90 Connector Tunnel ceiling panels. Based on PFI’s own internal testing, the epoxy was determined unsuitable for sustained loads and over time its use would allow the anchor bolts to “creep” and pull out of the ceiling. This information was never communicated by PFI in any of its marketing material.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts sued PFI for negligence and breach of contract in November 2006 and a state grand jury indicted the company for manslaughter in August 2007. The MAGO and PFI agreed to enter into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement and a Corporate Compliance Agreement (CCA) to resolve the indictment. PFI agreed to pay a total of $16 million to the Commonwealth in civil damages to resolve the outstanding civil lawsuit. The CCA also required PFI to stop selling the Fast Set epoxy, ordered PFI to recall all of its Fast Set epoxy products, publish warnings about the performance problems of the product, and develop a MAGO approved independent monitoring system to conduct annual CCA compliance reviews. Our investigation was conducted jointly with the MAGO, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, FBI, and NTSB.