Second class action filed over vinyl plants explosion

Kyle Barnett Apr. 11, 2012, 9:00am

DONALDSONVILLE – A second class action lawsuit has been filed by residents in the area of an explosion at a vinyl factory.

Blake Perritt, Barry Mitchell, Rubin Crayton, Jr., Dezmon Ellzey, Ronnie Sellers, Mauricio Bendek, Hersey James and Steven Burns filed suit on March 27 against Westlake Vinyls Company and Westlake Chemicals Corporation in the 23rd Judicial District Court.

The plaintiffs claim numerous hazardous chemicals were released in an explosion that occurred at Westlake Vinyls Company in Geismar in Ascension Parish.

Hazardous chemicals released in the blast are alleged to have been vinyl chloride monomer, hydro chloric acid and hydro chloric acid solution.

Members of the proposed class are those thought to be injured by the chemical release in a one mile radius of the plant.

In addition, the plaintiffs claim they were inconvenienced by road closures in the area and the closure of the Mississippi River to maritime traffic for several hours. The plaintiffs claim to have exposure-based injuries, symptoms and damages.

The defendants are accused of releasing a hazardous and harmful substance into the environment, failing to properly handle the hazardous substance, failing to properly inspect equipment and plant facility to ensure proper utilization of equipment and personnel, acting careless and negligently, failing to develop and follow proper rules and regulations, inadequate and negligent training and hiring, failing to recognize and properly respond to event, failing to warn of danger, having dangerous and defective equipment and failing to bring the situation under control in a timely manner.

An unspecified amount in damages is sought for fear, anguish, discomfort, inconvenience, pain and suffering, emotional distress, psychological damages, evacuation and property damages.

The plaintiffs are being represented by Jeffrey Michael Hedlund of Donaldsonville-based Law Office of Marvin Gros APLC.

The case has been assigned to Division D Judge Jessie Leblanc.

A similar class against has been filed against the defendant by the Becnel Law Firm.

Case number 103251

More News