An industrial worker who suffered severe eye damage after he was doused in acid in an April 2006 workplace accident has been awarded $9.6 million by a Houston jury, according to the Houston law firm that represents the worker.
The jury in the 295th State District Court of Harris County found Dallas-based Occidental Chemical Corp., a unit of Occidental Petroleum Corp., negligently designed the acid addition system to which Equistar Chemicals L.P. worker Jason Jenkins was adding acid at the Lyondell Bayport facility when the accident occurred.
Jenkins, who lost most of his vision in one eye, alleged that Occidental’s system lacked a pressure indicator and it failed to properly vent pressure to prevent worker injury. The faulty design vented pressure near Jenkins’ face, according to trial evidence. Occidental denied the allegations.
Mr. Jenkins’ attorney stated that, “Jason Jenkins’ workplace injury was preventable. We are very pleased with the jury’s findings, particularly since the defendants refused to accept any responsibility for this incident, even though a safer alternative design was available when the system was designed. We hope and pray that a successful resolution of this case will help Jason Jenkins and his family address his injuries and move ahead with their lives.”
The trial in Judge Tracy Christopher’s court lasted more than two weeks, but the jury only deliberated for a day and a half before returning the verdict that found Occidental 75 percent responsible, Equistar 20 percent responsible and Jenkins five percent responsible.
The case is “Jason Jenkins v. Occidental Chemical,” Cause No. 2007-73468, in the 295th District Court of Harris County, Texas.
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