Discussion in 'Economics' started by bat1, Dec 18, 2009.

  1. bat1


    Dec. 18 (Bloomberg) -- BP Products North America must pay $100 million to 10 workers sickened by toxic fumes at its Texas City, Texas, refinery in April 2007, a federal jury ruled today.

    The cases were the first of more than 100 claims from the incident to go to trial in federal court in Galveston, Texas, where jurors awarded $10 million in punitive damages to each victim, according to court records.

    “I told the jury that BP has a history as a serial polluter and a convicted felon, and the jury agreed they need to change,” lawyer Tony Buzbee, who represented the contractors, said in a phone interview.

    The federal jury also awarded the workers actual damages ranging from $5,918 to $244,386. The jury award is the 17th largest in the U.S. in 2009, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

    BP said it will appeal.

    “We are shocked and outraged by today’s verdict,” Ronnie Chappell, company spokesman, said in an e-mail. “We believe the evidence showed that BP did not cause harm to anyone on April 19, 2007.”

    The workers claimed that toxic fumes were released from the Texas City plant in 2007, sending more than 100 of them to the hospital for treatment and decontamination.

    Release Disputed

    The BP Plc unit said it didn’t release a toxic substance from the plant and disputed injuries claimed by the plaintiffs, according to court papers.

    “They said it wasn’t us, it just blew through,” Buzbee said. “But 70 percent of the time a release happens out there, they don’t find it.”

    The jury awarded about $326,000 in compensatory damages to the 10 workers, with the largest amount, about $244,000, going to Edwin Munoz, who sustained back injuries.

    The workers were awarded modest compensatory damages “because they had typical inhalation injuries with no long-term health problems,” Buzbee said. “This was about their right to be told what they were exposed to.”

    The Texas City plant was the site of a 2005 explosion that left 15 dead and injured hundreds. BP pleaded guilty to one violation of the federal Clean Air Act in 2007 after a U.S. investigation of the blast and agreed to pay a $50 million fine. The company also settled more than 4,000 injury and death claims out of a $2.1 billion fund.

    The fumes case is Garner v. BP Amoco Chemical Co., 07-00221, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas (Galveston).

    To contact the reporters on this story: Laurel Brubaker Calkins in Houston at laurel@calkins.us.com; Margaret Cronin Fisk in Southfield, Michigan, at mcfisk@bloomberg.net.

    Last Updated: December 18, 2009 19:58 EST

    No Wonder Big Oil wants to go overseas
    less..laws and lawsuits..
  2. bighog

    bighog Guest

    BP, as the judge said has a "HISTORY". (paraphrased, ha)

    Am i right in assuming you are a republican and would prefer no lawsuits from the harm CAUSED by big business in the name of pursuit of profits?

    Would you be complaining to a lawyer if your daughter, son, wife etc, etc were coming home from work one day with a leg and an arm missing because of laxed and illegal work rules?

    I could have told you what caused the accident as soon as it hit the news. As stated, BP has a history, a very sorry history of profits before the workers and their famlies where work safety is concerned.

    Thank goodness for lawyers to fight the greedy "profit at any cost" creeps that calculate paying fines are cheaper than other peoples loved ones. :p
  3. Not everyone hates American lawyers. I'm sure Canadians appreciate it that the lawyers forced all the small aircraft manufacturing to move to Canada years ago. The Canadians will also appreciate it when all the oil refining is forced to move here as well.

    I don't feel too sorry for the workers in the refinery. My full time job is in an industrial gas plant which is somewhat similar to a refinery. I would say that any worker in a Canadian or American plant has a large amount of control over how safe the working conditions are. Therefore if there is an accident, us workers are responsible in a large part ourselves because we didn't recognize the potential danger and didn't do something to prevent it. The lawyers can't make as much money if the court says that it was partly the workers own fault for not doing something to prevent the accident.