WASHINGTON — In the first lawsuit growing out of the Oklahoma City bombing, four survivors of the April 19 explosion are seeking damages from a Dallas-based chemical company that they allege made the ammonium nitrate used in the attack.
The suit, which seeks at least $50,000 per person in compensation plus unspecified punitive damages, was filed in federal court in Oklahoma City by Los Angeles attorney Johnnie L. Cochran Jr., who is representing O.J. Simpson in his murder trial, and a prominent Oklahoma City trial lawyer.
"It has been widely known in the industry which produces ammonium nitrate for fertilizer" that it "is easily made into a highly volatile explosive" used by terrorists and car bombers, the suit declares. The company, ICI Explosives Inc., "was negligent by failing to include an additive to reduce the explosive potential of the fertilizer grade of ammonium nitrate," the suit contends. Therefore, the Texas company should be liable for the injuries, psychological as well as physical, of all those injured in the bombing that destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the suit maintains.
In response, the company said that it would "vigorously contest" the suit and said it has seen no evidence that its chemicals were used in the explosive. "We deeply resent the attempt to implicate a responsible company in this terrible tragedy," the company said in a statement.