Bayou Corne residents sue over failure of salt cavern well

Michelle Keahey Oct. 6, 2012, 3:20am

NEW ORLEANS - Several Bayou Corne residents have filed a lawsuit over the failure of a salt cavern well which caused a strong diesel odor.

Betty Cedotal, Trinity Gulliot, individually and on behalf of Slade Guillot, Charlotte Hebert, filed suit against Texas Brine Co. on Aug. 6 in Assumption Parish District Court. The defendant removed the case to federal court in New Orleans on Sept. 11.

The residents near the Texas Brine facility, including Bayou Corne and nearby geographic areas, were evacuated on Friday, Aug. 3, 2012 at approximately 6 p.m., following nearly two months of tremors and bubbling of natural gas, the suit says.

The company declared an emergency that day when it detected a strong hydrocarbon odor near an abandoned well.

The defendants are accused of negligence for releasing hazardous and harmful substances in the atmosphere, failing to properly conduct its mining operations, by creating and allowing a hazardous situation consisting of faulty and insufficient procedures and work practices, failing to properly warn, failing to properly inspect the mine, acting in a careless and negligent manner, failing to implement and enforce rules and regulations, inadequate and negligent training and hiring, failing to take appropriate action to mitigate the incident, employing untrained or poorly trained employees and failing to properly train their employees, and for failing to timely bring the situation under control.

The lawsuit is seeking an award of damages for personal/physical pain, suffering, inconvenience, nuisance, discomfort, fear, fright, emotional/mental anguish, property, and medical damages, interest, and court costs.

The plaintiffs are represented by Jeffrey Michael Heggelund and Marvin Gros of Law Office of Marvin Gros in Donaldsville, Louisiana.

U.S. District Judge Sarah S. Vance is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:12-cv-02256

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