Chalmette woman accuses refinery of making her sick

Andrea Dearden Sep. 15, 2010, 1:54am

A Chalmette woman is suing a local oil refinery company after emissions from the facility allegedly made her sick.

Audrey R. Raymond filed a lawsuit against Chalmette Refining, L.L.C. Sept. 8 in Orleans Parish District Court. Louisiana's Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is also named as a defendant in the petition.

On the morning of Sept. 6, 2009, Raymond says she went for a walk in her neighborhood and noticed a fine white dust covering her home, car and several areas in her neighborhood. During the walk, Raymond claims, she began to feel a burning sensation in her nose and eyes and found it difficult to breathe. She says the symptoms, including coughing, sore throat and headaches, continued after her walk. The next day Raymond says she went to the hospital for treatment.

According to the complaint, Chalmette Refining allegedly released an oil-refining catalyst into the air that same morning Raymond went for a walk. The suit claims Chalmette released one ton of the catalyst known to contain kaolin and titanium oxide, both of which are said to irritate eyes, skin and lungs.

Raymond claims Chalmette Refining was negligent in releasing the toxic substances and should have warned residents it was happening.

The petition argues the DEQ is liable for failing to monitor Chalmette Refining, failing to prevent the release of the chemicals and failing to warn the public of the effects of exposure.

Raymond is seeking an unspecified amount of money for damages, including losses for personal injury, income, use of her property, medical expenses and court costs.

Orleans Parish District Court Case No. 10-9397

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