Gas truck driver slips on oil, sues Motiva

David Yates Aug. 27, 2007, 8:37am

Russell Gautreaux, a tanker truck driver, was picking up a load of gasoline at the Port Arthur Motiva refinery when he slipped and fell on a patch of oil.

He claims the ramp's non-skid surface he was walking on had "worn off" and was "contaminated with oil and other slippery substances from the loading docks."

Gautreaux is suing Motiva Enterprises for failing to keep the gasoline loading area's ramp "clean of petroleum," filing suit with the Jefferson County District Court on Aug. 22.

According to the plaintiff's original petition, on April 26, Gautreaux, a Pilot Corporation employee, had driven his tanker truck to the Motiva loading docks to pick up a load of gasoline. He started to walk up a ramp to a building adjacent to the loading dock when he fell and landed on his left shoulder, fracturing his humeral.

In his suit, Gautreaux's alleges "the non-skid surface on the ramp was worn and contaminated with oil and other slippery material."

"At the time of his accident, plaintiff was 51-years-old and had worked as a truck driver for many, many years," the suit said. "He was treated at Beaumont Bone & Joint Institute…and underwent an open reduction internal fixation but continued to have significant shoulder pain with radiation down to his hand."

The suit goes on to say Gautreaux has been assessed a 5 percent permanent impairment under the provisions of the Texas Workers' Compensation Act.

"While he has returned to work, he is earning less money than he was making before his accident and his reduction in earning capacity is probably permanent," the suit said. "Plaintiff would show that his injuries and resulting damages, when measured in money, significantly exceed the minimum jurisdictional limits of this Court.

"Plaintiff's damages include past and future medical expenses, past and future wage loss and loss of earning capacity, past and future physical impairment and pain, suffering and mental anguish. Plaintiff seeks to recover his damages of and from defendant, Motiva."

Gautreaux is requesting a trial by jury and is represented by attorney Steven Barkley.

Judge Bob Wortham, 58th Judicial District, has been assigned to the case.

Case No. A179-864

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