143 Texas City residents sue BP over 2007 chemical release

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Apr. 9, 2009, 8:41am

GALVESTON � A Houston attorney has filed suit against BP on behalf of 143 Texas City residents as a result of an incident at the London-based petroleum company's Texas City refinery in April 2007.

The lawsuit filed by attorney Patricia M. Davis in Galveston County District Court last week accuses BP of releasing harmful chemicals, such as benzene and aluminum silica, into the air on April 10, 2007, causing the nearby residents great inconvenience.

"The releases prevented the plaintiffs from the use and enjoyment of their residences," the original petition says.

In addition to not being able to live comfortably in their homes, it was reported that many of the plaintiffs, among them minors and senior citizens, fell ill days following the emissions.

"The plaintiffs further incurred personal injuries due to the releases," the suit says. "They allege the defendants voluntarily and intentionally interfered with the plaintiffs' physical and emotional health."

It adds those with pre-existing medical problems prior to the releases saw their health deteriorate soon after.

The suit accuses BP of failing to properly maintain the refinery, monitor refinery operations, identify safety hazards, discover a dangerous condition, and warn the plaintiffs of said condition.

It ultimately faults the oil major for creating a nuisance.

"The defendants' actions or failures to act created a nuisance in that they substantially interfered with the plaintiffs' ability to use and enjoy land and thereby caused unreasonable discomfort and annoyance," the complaint says.

The Galveston County Daily News reported in an April 21, 2007, article that two incidents occurred at the plant. One involved a powdery cloud that caused skin and eye problems among seven people.

Another sent 110 contract workers to the hospital for treatment and decontamination.

The plaintiffs seek a jury trial, damages for hospital bills, and punitive damages.

Galveston County 122nd District Court Judge John Ellisor is presiding over the case.

Case No. 09CV0966

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