Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Over Toxic Chemical Release That Claims the Life of Pipefitter and Severely Injures Two Others

Fitzsimmons Law Firm PLLC recently filed a wrongful death and personal injury lawsuit on behalf of two workers and the family of a third worker that was killed in a workplace accident as a result of a toxic chemical release. The case was filed in the Circuit Court of Marshall County, West Virginia.

According to the Complaint, the plaintiffs were employed as pipefitters and welders and were directed to change out a faulty valve on a chemical line at the subject plant. Before directing plaintiffs to perform their work, the plaintiffs allege that plant management failed to appropriately prepare the system for maintenance and failed to ensure that the system had been properly shut down, isolated, and cleared out. The plaintiffs allege that plant management was directly responsible for shutting down the caustic lines within the chemical lines, ensuring that the lines were appropriately cleared out and isolated, and ensuring that the system and/or caustic lines were appropriately locked out/tagged out two days prior to the scheduled maintenance. However, according to the plaintiffs, plant management failed to appropriately clear and isolate the lines and/or failed to lockout/tagout the system and/or inappropriately allowed the system to become repressurized and/or allowed chemicals to reaccumulate within the pipes. The Complaint further alleges that plant management failed to bleed the lines to remove chemicals from the system and/or failed to prevent a reaccumulation of chemicals and hazardous materials in the lines and/or failed to take other measures to eliminate residual or stored chemicals in the lines.

According to the Complaint, the three pipefitters were preparing to change the faulty valve on the chemical line when, as a direct result of the defendants' failures to adhere to proper safety rules and standards, they were exposed to hot steam and Caustic Soda Solution when it sprayed out of the line at a high pressure and temperature. The chemicals caused the workers to suffer severe and extreme chemical and thermal burns. One of the workers, ingested the chemicals causing severe and fatal injury which caused his death thirteen days later.

In their Complaint, the plaintiffs allege that the chemical company intentionally exposed the three workers to unsafe working condition by knowingly violating and bypassing applicable OSHA regulations and other workplace safety rules and standards. Specifically, the plaintiffs assert a claim under W.Va. Code § 23-4-2(d)(2)(ii) for "deliberate intention" which is West Virginia's exception to its workers' compensation exclusivity provision. The plaintiffs are seeking wrongful death damages together with all other items of damage permitted by law which include medical bills, future medical bills, lost wages and benefits, pain and suffering, permanent scarring and disfigurement, loss of the enjoyment of life, and fear of death. The case is pending in the Circuit Court of Marshall County, West Virginia.

Fitzsimmons Law Firm PLLC has been standing up for and protecting workers for over 35 years. Our trial lawyers have represented workers injured or killed on the job in numerous types of claims including chemical and toxic exposure, oil and gas accidents, coal mining accidents, drilling accidents, construction and industrial accidents, and burn injuries. Our attorneys have secured over $800 Million in verdicts and settlements for our clients, including 150 cases in excess of $1 Million.


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