Family files suit on behalf of worker killed in refinery blast

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Jan. 6, 2010, 3:00pm

GALVESTON - The family of a worker killed in an explosion at Valero's Texas City refinery last month has filed suit against two boilermaking companies.

Roger Manis and Barbara Manis of Brazoria County, individually and as representative of the estate of Tommy D. Manis, accuse Halgo Power Inc. and Babcock & Wilcox Power Generation Group Inc. of improperly designing, building and installing a boiler which exploded the evening of Dec. 4.

Two others were injured in the blast.

"Said acts proximately caused the catastrophic failure of the boiler and the resulting pressure blast and the death of Tommy D. Manis and the injuries and damages sustained by the plaintiffs," the original petition says.

The suit was filed Dec. 28 in Galveston County Court No. 1.

According to court papers, Tommy D. Manis and others were attempting to restart a large steam boiler at the refinery when the boiler experienced a catastrophic failure and caused a pressure blast.

Tommy D. Manis was killed instantly, the suit says.

It adds the decedent and his colleagues did the task on "incomplete information and belief."

Michael Gibbs, one of the men hurt in the explosion, recently filed a lawsuit against the defendants and a temporary restraining order barring them from removing material from the alleged scene of the explosion.

Tommy D. Manis's survivors also filed the same restraining order, which is included in the suit.

The plaintiffs seek about $75,000 in damages and a jury trial.

Attorneys with Hagood, Neumann, & Huckeba LLP are representing Roger and Barbara Manis.

The case has been assigned to Galveston County Court No. 1 Judge Mary Nell Crapitto.

Cause No. 62,076

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