Crane company wants collapse victims' case moved to Harris County

Steve Korris Nov. 20, 2008, 5:22am

BEAUMONT - Deep South Crane and Rigging Company, defending itself against lawsuits in Jefferson County over a crane collapse in Houston, seeks to transfer the cases to Harris County.

Jefferson County District Judge Gary Sanderson has set a Dec. 5 hearing on Deep South's motion for transfer of 39 suits over a July 18 accident at Lyondell Refinery.

Two estates and 37 individuals have sued Deep South, Lyondell and Houston Refining in litigation that started five days after the accident.

Houston lawyers Terry Bryant and Robert Kennedy initiated the suit on behalf of four persons claiming injuries from the collapse.

Eleven other lawyers have intervened on behalf of accident victims.

All the plaintiff lawyers seek to establish Jefferson County venue by identifying Deep South as a Jefferson County business, but the company disputes that identification.

"Deep South's Jefferson County office is not a principal office," Bryan Vezey of Houston wrote Aug. 29 in a motion for transfer to Harris County.

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