Industrial Accident at BP Oil Refinery Results in $1.72M Verdict

A worker at BP’s Texas City oil refinery has been awarded $1.72 million by a Galveston jury in an industrial accident lawsuit.

The verdict was handed down on January 15th in the 10th Judicial District Court, in favor of Ernesto Tamez and his wife, Maria. Tamez filed his personal injury lawsuit against Maxim Crane Works for liability arising from an accident at the BP Plant where he worked on January 18, 2006.

Tamez was hit by an oil burner that was elevated by a crane operator who worked for Maxim. Tamez suffered a crush damage injury to his back, neck, shoulder and ribs, requiring extensive surgery.

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The jury found Maxim Crane Works fully liable for the industrial accident after plaintiffs argued that the operator moved the oil burner without first receiving an “all clear” signal to indicate that no one was in harm’s way. The operator also allegedly moved the burner in a way that unbalanced the load. The damages award includes $300,000 for lost wages, $550,000 in medical expenses and $170,000 for Tamez’s wife.

BP’s Texas City Refinery is the third-largest oil refinery in the United States, and has been the subject of several major safety incidents. As recently as September, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration hit BP with an $87.4 million fine for not complying with a safety agreement made after a March 23, 2005 explosion and fire that killed 15 workers and injured more than 170 others.

In February 2009, BP Products North America agreed to pay $180 million to resolve a separate environmental lawsuit over benzene emissions at the oil refinery. That case involved violations of a 2001 consent decree and Clean Air regulations which were identified during inspections by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) following the March 2005 blast.

Under the terms of that settlement, BP agreed to spend $161 million to address their Clean Air Act violations by setting up better pollution controls, enhanced maintenance and monitoring devices and improving their internal management practices. Another $6 million was designated to fund a project to reduce air pollution in Texas City and $12 million was paid as a penalty.

1 Comments

  • trishMarch 19, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    bp needs to leave texascity and go to russia or chinia we have had enough of bp in texas and losiania go away bp you kill people we want to live in texas city with bp causing us to many problems

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