Pipefitter sues Motiva after falling into pipe

David Yates Nov. 1, 2007, 7:35am

A pipefitter who took a header into a pipe after cutting near an expansion joint is suing Motiva Enterprises for failing to provide safety information about its pipes.

Through Provost Umphrey attorney Jane Leger, Benjamin Perez filed suit in the Jefferson County District Court on Oct. 30.

In his suit, Perez says he injured his back and neck in the fall, which occurred sometime in May 2007.

Perez, a Connex employee, was working on the No. 2 pump house in the Power House Station. Motiva was supervising the job site, the suit said.

"While plaintiff was cutting through a pipe, plaintiff was not informed by Motiva, who owned the pipes, that there was an expansion joint on the other end, causing plaintiff to lose control over the valve and fall into a pipe," the suit said.

The suit goes on to further allege Motiva was negligent for failing to provide a safe place to work and for failing to supervise and train its employees.

"As a result of the injury, Perez required medical attention and was not able to work," the suit said. "He suffered lost wages…medical expenses, as well as pain."

Perez is also suing for actual damages, mental anguish and disfigurement.

Motiva recently announced plans to extend its refining operations, which will make it the largest oil refinery in North America.

Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd Judicial District, has been assigned to the case.

Case No. E180-685

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