Worker sues BP after being struck by crane

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Feb. 4, 2010, 2:47am


GALVESTON - After being struck by the contents a moving crane at BP's Texas City refinery last year, a laborer is suing the oil giant and the crane's manufacturer.

Francisco Cantu's suit against BP Products North America Inc. and Maxim Crane Works L.P. says the Oct. 8, 2008, incident was caused by improper rigging, improper lifting techniques, improper crane operation, improper supervision and a faulty and malfunctioning crane.

"The plaintiff would show that the conditions and/or instrumentalities involved in the incident... were under the management and control of the defendants," the original petition filed Jan. 28 in Galveston County Court No. 2 states.

"The plaintiff would further show that the character of the event causing the plaintiff's injuries would not ordinarily occur in the absence of negligence and... the defendants' negligence may be inferred under the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur as that doctrine is understood by law."

Cantu states he was working when a load being moved by a crane swung around and struck him, trapping him between the tarp support and the bundles.

The plaintiff claims he has had back surgery as a result of the incident, and needs further care for his neck and head.

The suit alleges that Cantu's ordeal was one in a long line of lifting mishaps at the BP Texas City plant.

"More than five years ago, BP management identified lifting incidents as one of the major safety issues at the BP Texas City plant yet nothing has been done to correct these problems," according to the complaint.

Cantu consequently seeks damages including but not limited to pain and suffering, mental anguish and medical expenses.

He requests a jury trial.

Galveston attorney Tony G. Buzbee is representing the plaintiff, and the case has been assigned to Galveston County Court No. 2 Judge C.G. "Trey" Dibrell III.

Cause No. 62,260

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