Family of deceased refinery worker sues man's employers

Kelly Holleran Jul. 19, 2010, 6:47am

The wife and children of a recently deceased man have filed suit against the man's employer, alleging he was alone at work when he suffered a heart attack and inhaled mud and water before he died.

Lucy Lopez, Evonne Lopez and Martina Herrera claim their husband and father, Martin Lopez, was working for defendant Bo-Mac Contractors on defendant Motiva's premises when he suffered a heart attack on Nov. 2, 2009.

"Although policy required a worker be with Plaintiff while he worked in the hole, none were around," the suit states. "Martin Lopez fell face down in the hole where there was an accumulation of water. When Martin Lopez was found, CPR was done on him, but he later died. Mud and water was found in Martin Lopez throat and lungs, indicating he was alive and ingesting the muddy water while he attempted to breath."

Because of their husband's and father's deaths, the plaintiffs say they lost his care, maintenance, support, services, education, advice, counsel, love, companionship and society; suffered mental anguish; and lost inheritance, the complaint says.

The plaintiffs accuse the defendants of gross negligence and negligence, saying they failed to provide Martin Lopez a safe place to work, failed to have a second employee present while Martin Lopez was performing his duties,required Martin Lopez to work in a hole, allowed workers who were supposed to be helping Martin Lopez to leave the area, failed to follow their procedures and allowed contractors to work on their premises who were not properly trained in safety skills.

In their complaint, the plaintiffs are seeking a judgment within the jurisdictional limits of Jefferson County District Court, plus pre- and post-judgment interest, costs and other relief the court deems just.

Jerry Pusch of Houston will be representing them.

The case has been assigned to Judge Bob Wortham, 58th District Court.

Jefferson County District Court: A187-206.

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