Family of employee found dead at Valero worksite sues refinery for negligence

Kelly Holleran Dec. 17, 2008, 4:17am

The mother and daughter of a former Brock Maintenance employee have filed suit against the company and Valero Energy Corporation, alleging their son and father died because of the companies' negligence.

Bernice Piggee, Gary Piggee's mother, and Nacrecia Piggee, Gary Piggee's daughter, allege Gary reported for work and signed in at the Valero site on April 25, 2007, according to a complaint filed Dec. 11 in Jefferson County District Court.

When a co-worker discovered Gary's tools at the site, but did not know where Gary was, the co-workers were sent home and no further effort was made to find Gary, the suit states.

Gary was found dead the next morning at the Valero worksite, the Piggees claim.

No reason for Gary's death was mentioned in the suit.

Because of Gary's death, Bernice and Nacrecia have suffered past and future mental anguish, loss of companionship and society, loss of advice and counsel, loss of inheritance and incurred funeral and burial expenses, according to the complaint.

Gary suffered pain and mental anguish prior to his death, the suit states.

Both Brock Maintenance and Valero Energy Corporation were negligent because they had a duty to provide Gary with a safe place to work, but breached that duty, according to the suit.

Brock Maintenance was well aware of the extreme degree of risk involved in the unsafe conditions under which Gary worked, but continued to allow Gary to work at the Valero site with "conscious indifference to Mr. Piggee's safety and welfare," the suit states.

Valero failed to use ordinary care to reduce or eliminate an unreasonable risk of harm created by the premises condition it knew existed, the Piggees claim.

The Piggees are seeking actual damages, plus pre- and post-judgment interest, costs, attorney's fees and other relief to which they may be entitled.

Cortlan H. Maddux of John, Stevenson and Associates in Houston will be representing them.

The case has been assigned to Judge Gary Sanderson of the 60th District Court.

Case No. B182-843

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