By Sandra Lane | Jun 16, 2018

BATON ROUGE – Packaging Corp. of America, Boise Packaging & Newsprint LLC and Rick Butterfield, defendants in a personal injury lawsuit, filed a notice of removal to change the venue of their pending legal action to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana from the 19h Judicial District Court, Parish of East Baton Rouge.

The petition for removal, which was filed on June 6, said “Removal is proper because this court has diversity of citizenship jurisdiction over the litigation.”

Packaging Corp. of America CEO Mark Kowzlan | Packaging Corp. of America

The petition said this means that a U.S. District Court has the power to hear a civil case when the amount sought exceeds $75,000 and when the parties to the lawsuit live or are based in different jurisdictions.  

The petition said the plaintiffs residing in Louisiana include Michael Johnson, Charles Cunningham, Jerry Bailey, Eric Woodard, Michael Darbonne, Michael McCullough and Christopher Harrington. Meanwhile, plaintiffs Demon Benjamin and Pamela Green are residents of Texas.

The lawsuit was filed after each of the plaintiffs allegedly sustained injuries in an explosion that occurred at a plant in Beauregard Parish, Louisiana. 

On June 12, 2017, the plaintiffs filed a petition for damages in the 19th Judicial District Court, Parish of East Baton Rouge, State of Louisiana. Additional petitions and answers have been filed since that time. 

As stated in their original petition, the plaintiffs are seeking damages for ”past and future medical expenses, loss of wages and earning capacity, pain and suffering, enjoyment of life, impairment and disability and scarring and disfigurement."

The plaintiffs also allege that the “defendants failed to provide a safe workplace, were responsible for owning, operating, maintaining and inspecting the equipment and tanks that ultimately exploded and caused harm, have previously experienced a similar incident involving a tank explosion in 2008 at the defendants’ Tomahawk" facility in Wisconsin.

In addition, the plaintiffs claim that, although the defendants knew of the hazard, they continued to endanger the health and safety of the plaintiffs.

The plaintiffs state said their requested damages exceed the amount necessary for trial by jury.

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