Refinery worker claims heavy lifting caused injury

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Feb. 4, 2010, 2:36am

GALVESTON - A Hidalgo County man says he was terminated after he was injured while doing some heavy lifting at a Texas City plant.

Eduardo Pedraza is suing his former employer Starcon International Inc. over a Feb. 11, 2008, incident at the BP refinery in which the plaintiff was reportedly hurt trying to transfer a slab of sheet metal.

The suit was filed Jan. 25 in Galveston County District Court.

According to court papers, Pedraza was directed to move a plate of sheet metal weighing approximately 100 to 150 pounds when he was injured.

"During the course of moving the 100 to 150-pound plate of sheet metal, the plaintiff injured himself," the suit says.

The suit does not provide details about the extent of Pedraza's injuries. It states he was under the care of a physician at all times.

The suit further explains that Pedraza received clearance from said physician to return to work, but was told by Oziel Gonzalez he was out of a job on his first day back.

"When the plaintiff's physician allowed him to return to work, the plaintiff was told by defendant Oziel Gonzalez he did not have a job with defendant Starcon," it says.

Pedraza believes he was dismissed because he filed a worker's compensation claim. The suit points out that Starcon was a "subscriber" under Texas Workers Compensation, which allows the plaintiff to receive medical and monetary benefits during his recovery.

It ultimately labels Starcon's alleged actions as discriminatory, willful and malicious.

BP is not named a defendant in the case.

Pedraza claims to have suffered economic losses and emotional distress along with physical pain.

He is represented by Richard J. Plezia & Associates in Houston and Ruiz Law Firm in Edinburg.

The case has been assigned to Galveston County 10th District Court Judge David Garner.

Case No. 10cv0296

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