Worker injured by gas blast seeks $1M from well company

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau May 21, 2010, 8:49am

MARSHALL-While performing maintenance on a well head, an employee of Innovative Wellsite Systems was hurled through the air after being struck by a blast of gas when the well "blew in."

The plaintiff James Reynolds states he was left with disabling and permanent injuries is seeking at least $1 million from the well owner and operator, Chesapeake Energy Corp.

Reynolds filed his suit on May 12 in the Marshall Division of the Eastern District of Texas.

Reynolds' employer, Innovative Wellsite Systems specializes in installation and maintenance of well heads that are utilized in the production of oil and gas. On Nov. 18, 2009, Reynolds was dispatched to DeSoto Parish, La., to change out the lock pins on a park of the well head.

When he arrived, the plaintiff was informed that the well head was under extremely high pressure. According to the complaint, Reynolds told the defendant's representative that steps should be taken to lower the gas pressure on the well head. The representative refused to comply and directed the plaintiff to proceed with the job.

The suit states the well "blew in" while the plaintiff was attempting to complete the job. One person at the well site received fatal injuries and others, including Reynolds, received serious injuries.

Reynolds accuses the defendant of negligence for failing to take steps to control the gas pressure.

The plaintiff is seeking more than $1 million in damages for loss of earnings, loss of earning capacity, physical pain and mental anguish, permanent impairment, medical expenses, interest and court costs.

Arguing the defendant's conduct was with a reckless and total disregard for the well being of others, Reynolds is asking the Court to award punitive damages to punish the company.

Tyler attorneys Charles H. Clark and Gregory S. Porter of Clark & Porter are representing the plaintiff.

U.S. District Judge T. John Ward is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:10cv00152

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