Plaintiff responds to DuPont's motion for summary judgment

David Yates Jun. 10, 2010, 5:00am

In October 2007, the Southeast Texas Record reported on a suit filed by Dariel Jones, who stepped into a gas-filled hole and suffered second- and third-degree burns to his right leg and foot while working at a local DuPont plant.

Nearly three years later, DuPont is seeking summary judgment in the case, filing a motion last month.

On June 4, Jones filed a response arguing "sufficient evidence exists establishing that DuPont breached their common law duty."

Court papers show that on Sept. 11, 2006, Jones was installing a valve on DuPont's premises when he stepped into a hole created by leaks in a condensate line.

He was moving scaffolding to reach the valve when he slipped into the hole.

"The plaintiff sustained second degree burns to his right leg and third degree burns to his foot," the suit states. "The hole was an unreasonably dangerous condition, which defendant...should have known of, and had a duty to warn the plaintiff."

DuPont argues that Jones' employer was responsible for his safety and that there is no evidence that DuPont knew of the danger, court papers say.

Conversely, Jones contends DuPont is liable for all labors working within its premises.

Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court, will hold a hearing on the matter later this month.

If DuPont has its motion granted, it would be the second time the company escaped the suit.

In August 2009, Judge Bob Wortham reinstated the personal injury lawsuit against DuPont after Judge Floyd dismissed it last July.

Wortham was filling in for Floyd who was on vacation at the time.

On July 17, 2009, Floyd dismissed the case for want of prosecution.

He wrote in his order that the case had been placed on the try or dismiss docket for July and the counsel of record failed to announce that they were ready for trial.

At a hearing to reinstate, plaintiff's attorney Ryan Scott, an attorney for Brent Coon & Assoc., said the notice had been sent to the wrong law firm.

DuPont, represented locally by M.C. Carrington of Mehaffy Weber, did not object to his clerical oversight argument and conceded that DuPont had "no grounds" to argue against the suit's reinstatement.

Jones is suing for past and future medical expenses, physical pain, mental anguish and impairment.

Case No. E180-590

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