BP ordered to pay $100 million to contract workers

Legal news for Texas employment attorneys. BP was ordered by a jury to pay $10 million to each of the 10 plaintiffs.

Texas employment lawyers alerts- A jury ordered BP to pay $100 million in damages to contract workers.

Houston, TX–The third largest global energy company, BP, has been ordered by a jury to pay over $100 million in damages for exposing contract workers to toxic substances’ at BP’s Texas City oil refinery in April 2007. A federal jury in Galveston handed down the verdict on Friday, December 18, 2009, as reported by the Houston Chronicle.

A BP contract worker claimed BP failed to maintain equipment and provide necessary safety controls, which caused a poisonous and hazardous chemical release that hospitalized over 100 workers on April 19, 2007. The 10 contract workers were each awarded $10 million in punitive damages, in addition to actual damages that range from $5,918 to $22,386 to cover medical expenses, mental anguish, and lost income. The plaintiffs maintain they were exposed to carbon disulfide, which is a harmful compound that created flu-like symptoms while they were working on two refining units called Pipestill 3B and CAT1. The workers were reportedly wearing monitors to detect toxic releases, but the monitors did not go off because they were made to detect other fumes. None of the affected workers named as the plaintiffs in the case apparently suffered major long-term health damages.

BP stated they were “shocked and outraged” by the courts decision, and are planning to appeal the verdict. BP claims there is no evidence that the plaintiffs were exposed to toxic substances at levels above the federal limits. There is also no proof that BP is at fault. Both the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) http://www.osha.gov/ investigated the 2007 incident, but closed the investigation without a conclusion or any notices of violations, according to both governmental agencies databases.

Legal News Reporter: Nicole Howley-Legal news for Texas employment lawyers.