Worker sues over burns from liquid asphalt

Kelly Holleran Jan. 6, 2010, 2:19am

A man says he sustained second- and third-degree burns at work after he was sprayed with hot liquid asphalt.

Kenneth Hodges filed a lawsuit Dec. 22 in Jefferson County District Court against Martin Product Sales, Martin Gas and Martin Midstream Partners.

Hodges claims he worked as a welder for Echo Maintenance at the Martin Gas Standolind Cut Terminal on Jan. 19, 2008. There, Martin Gas employees instructed him to drill and tap a fitting on a liquid asphalt line, according to the complaint.

Before Hodges and his co-workers began work on the line, Martin Gas employees told them they had depressurized the line, the suit states. However, when Hodges attempted to tap the line, hot liquid asphalt sprayed his face, chest and arms, the complaint says.

In addition to his burns, Hodges claims he experienced physical pain, suffering, mental anguish and physical impairment and incurred medical costs. In addition, he lost wages and his earning capacity, according to the complaint.

Hodges blames Martin for failing to properly and safely de-pressurize the line prior to requesting work from Echo Maintenance employees, for failing to properly inspect and tag the line and for failing to warn Hodges and his co-workers that the line could be pressurized.

Hodges seeks an unspecified judgment and punitive damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, attorney's fees, costs and other damages the court deems just.

David Dies of Dies and Parkhurst in Orange is representing Hodges.

The case has been assigned to Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court.

Jefferson County District Court case number: E185-531.

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