$50 Million Lawsuit over Workplace Explosion




$50 Million Lawsuit over Workplace Explosion

A lawsuit has been filed against a Formosa Plastics Point Comfort plant over fires and explosions that caused many workplace injuries, and injuries to nearby residents in October 2005.

“We’re suing them for basically the bodily injury and related injuries committed to our clients,” said Wes Christian, the lead lawyer for more than 1,000 complainants “We’re suing them for mental pain and anguish, loss of wages, and for the medical expenses incurred … and also further surgeries.”

Christian said he represents 52 of the “most seriously injured” people who were close enough to the explosions to be hurt.

“The case is ultimately going to have more than 1,000 complainants,” including people who lived near the plant, Christian said.

The Injuries

Christian said that many of his clients sustained serious neck and back injuries, and that the majority of them sustained psychological damage from the “war-type” atmosphere during the disaster. Some clients are suing because they suffered respiratory damage from the hazardous substances that were put into the air as the fires burned for five days, and because “many people had to leave their homes for days.”

Fault

The petition also claims that Formosa allowed vehicles to wander through the plant wherever the drivers wanted without giving them specified routes so they would avoid exposed, protruding piping filled with explosive gasses.

Christian said that this kind of working environment “was a constant weight on the minds of Formosa employees and their families. The American worker should not be asked to assume unnecessary risks that put their lives in danger. We believe it’s wrong, and at the very least, irresponsible.”

According to an investigation by the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, the explosion was preventable. They found the causes to be unprotected piping, missing automatic shutoff valves, and non-fireproofed buildings.

Christian said of the lawsuit, “Our intent here is to not only see our clients compensated fairly for injuries, but that Formosa pay attention in the future to safety issues, and to put the safety of people who work in their plant first.”

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