Carol Ostrow Apr. 17, 2015, 9:38am


GALVESTON – A Galveston County couple is suing an oil company on grounds of alleged damages in a 2015 incident.

Heather and Gary Crich of Bayou Vista filed individually and as next friends of two minors on April 13 against Marathon Petroleum Co. LP of Delaware and doing business in Texas, and Raymond L. Brooks of League City, in Galveston County District Court, claiming personal and property damage in an area industrial incident in January.

Brooks is cited in his capacity as a refinery manager for Marathon at its Texas City plant. The suit states that on Jan. 13, 2015, a unit in the refinery released at least 128,500 pounds of catalytic dust over a nearly 23-hour period. According to court papers, a strong wind blew the dust into nearby communities including Bayou Vista.

Marathon acknowledged that the dust was composed of silica and aluminum oxide, according to the lawsuit. The plaintiffs claim that the defendant was negligent in allowing the release of toxic compounds; and in failing to inspect and maintain their equipment, warn of the release and use safe operating procedures.

Claiming that they and their minors endured physical and mental pain and suffering, impaired ability to perform everyday activities, diminished earning capacity, loss of companionship and services, and medical expenses, the couple alleges strict and vicarious liability, private nuisance and damage from exposure.

Citing gross negligence and property damage, the plaintiffs seek: unspecified compensation for damages; pre- and post-judgment interest; attorney’s fees; expenses; and costs. They are represented by Alton Todd of the Law Firm of Alton C. Todd in Friendswood.

Galveston County District Court case no. 15-CV-0360

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