Editor’s Warning: The video above shows the aftermath of the explosion at Franconia Brewery in 2012 and features inappropriate language.
McKinney’s Franconia Brewery, its owner Dennis Wehrmann, and its head brewer Richard Camden Horn are the named defendants in a lawsuit filed recently by two people who claim they were injured during an explosion at Franconia during a 2012 brewery tour.
The suit, filed in Dallas County Court at Law No. 2, states that Jon W. Rudin and Erin R. Kirby, both of Denton County, “suffered injuries and damages, including medical expenses, loss of earnings capacity, physical pain and mental anguish, disfigurement, and physical impairment” during a brewery tour on Feb. 18, 2012. The suit does not specify what injuries Rudin and Kirby suffered in the explosion.
During that brewery tour, one of the fermenting tanks “exploded, which sent it through the metal wall between the Fermentation Room and the Main Room.” Franconia’s brewery has three main sections in its main building, with metal walls separating the sections from each other. During the tour, which Wehrmann leads himself and which Franconia conducts every Saturday, guests begin in the main room, which is flanked on either side by the fermentation room and the cooler room.
After visiting the fermentation room to learn how the beer is brewed, the tour concludes in the cooler room. Wehrmann encourages guests who’ve taken the tour previously or who don’t want to stand inside the cooler room due to its low temperatures to wait in the main room and sample some of Franconia’s beers. The suit states that Rudin and Kirby were in the main room when the tank exploded and they were struck by the tank and other debris from the explosion.
The suit lists Wehrmann and Horn as defendants along with Franconia Brewery. The suit claims that Wehrmann “committed acts and/or omissions that constituted negligence,” by conducting a tour while brewing operations were taking place, and by failing to ensure that the tank was properly inspected, operated or monitored. It also claims that Horn failed to operate the tank properly.
The suit states that the plaintiffs are seeking damages in excess of $200,000 but “not more than $1,000,000, although the amount awarded by the jury will be entirely within the discretion of the jury.” The suit also states that the suit was filed in Dallas County because at the time of the explosion, “one or more of the defendants resided in Dallas County.”
TownSquareBuzz.com attempted to contact the attorney representing Rudin and Kirby, David Marchand of Dallas, and the attorney representing Franconia, Karl Schneider of Houston, but has not received a response from either party.