Class action filed over chemical release in St. Bernard

Michelle Massey Sep. 17, 2010, 4:49am


A class action claiming the Sept. 6 chemical release from the Chalmette Refining facility in St. Bernard Parish was caused by untrained employees was filed Sept. 8 in federal court in New Orleans.

Lauren Stone, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, claims that unknown chemicals that were toxic, noxious and harmful were released into the atmosphere.

The defendant is accused of failing to properly handle and contain the hazardous and harmful substance, allowing faulty and insufficient procedures and work practices, failing to properly warn petitioners to keep away from the substances, and failing to properly inspect their equipment and plant facility.

Chalmette Refining is also accused of acting in a careless and negligent manner without due regard for the safety of others, failing to implement rules and regulations pertaining to the safe operation of the tasks being conducted at the time of the accident, inadequate and negligent training and hiring, failing to avoid or mitigate the accident, employing untrained and poorly-trained employees and failing to properly train their employees.

Stone states the defendant failed to recognize the incident, failed to warn and failed to bring the situation under control.

On behalf of herself and other potential class members, Stone is seeking damages for medical expenses, lost wage, loss of earning capacity, fear, anguish, discomfort, inconvenience, pain and suffering, emotional distress, psychiatric and psychological damages, evacuation and property damage. Stone plaintiff is also seeking an award of interest, punitive damages, court costs and attorney fees.

Stone is represented by Daniel Becnel Jr., Matthew Moreland, Salvadore Christina, Christopher Devon Becnel and Toni Becnel of Becnel Law Firm in Reserve. Other class counsel includes Jerrold Parker of Parker Waichman Alonso in Bonita Springs and Camilo K. Salas III of Salas & Co. in New Orleans.

U.S. District Judge Helen G. Berrigan is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:10cv02957

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