Worker claims toxic release at Valero caused mental impairment

David Yates Jul. 3, 2008, 10:12am

A teenage refinery worker has filed suit against Valero Energy Corp. and Wyatt Service Co. for allegedly exposing him to toxic levels of hydrogen sulfide, which he claims has left him mentally impaired.

Juan Martinez, 19, filed his suit against the companies July 1 in the Jefferson County District Court.

According to the plaintiff's petition, on April 15 Martinez was working at Valero's Port Arthur plant when he was exposed to "toxic levels of hydrogen sulfide," causing "severe injuries to his body and neurological and respiratory systems."

"The tank and/or premises plaintiff was on/were under the actual … ownership and control of defendants," the suit says. "No defendant has ensured that plaintiff has received appropriate medical treatment and follow-up (care)."

The suit does not give specifics on how the incident occurred or what Martinez was doing when he was allegedly exposed.

Nonetheless, the suit continues by asserting the companies failed to provide Martinez with a safe work place, maintain and inspect the premises and supervise him.

Martinez is suing for punitive and exemplary damages, plus damages for mental and physical impairment, medical expenses, lost wages and mental anguish.

He is represented by the Law Offices of Gilbert T. Adams.

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

Case No. E181-986

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