Occidental Chemical sues transformer manufacturer after fire

Michelle Massey Jan. 27, 2011, 5:16am


A Louisiana chemical company has filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer of a transformer after it ruptured and started a fire.

Occidental Chemical Corp. filed suit against Tamini Transformers USA and Tamini Trasformatori on Jan. 25 in federal court in New Orleans.

According to the complaint, Occidental ordered a transformer from the defendant in September 2007 and it was delivered to the Taft plant in March 2009. A month after the transformer was energized for the first time, Occidental Chemical informed the defendants that the transformer was showing evidence of defective performance.

In response, an employee of the defendant went to the plant and instructed the replacement of the sudden pressure relay and the transformer was re-energized without incident, the suit states.

But on Jan. 31, 2010, the transformer failed, causing a rupture of the transformer tank and fire around the transformer, the suit states.

Occidental Chemical claims the transformer had design and manufacturing defects in the wiring insulation system, which led to an electrical short circuit and arcing fault.

Even with the help of several local fire departments, it took about five hours to suppress the fire, the suit states.

Occidental claims that the defendant acknowledged that a circuit in the transformer was defective, but has refused to provide compensation for the damages and losses.

The plaintiff is seeking an award of damages, pecuniary losses including damage to buildings, equipment and materials and cost for repairs, expenses of remediation, expenses associated with the replacement transformer, engineering costs and expenses, attorney's fees, interest and court costs.

Occidental Chemical Corp. is represented by Christoffer C. Friend, Michael M. Noonan and Susan R. Laporte of Curry & Friend in New Orleans. A jury trial is requested.

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

Case No. 2:11-cv-00159

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