Judge grants Motiva summary judgment in windblown papers injury suit

David Yates Jul. 20, 2010, 5:52am

A Jefferson County judge has dismissed a personal injury lawsuit filed by a woman who fell while chasing windblown papers at Motiva Enterprises and then sued the refinery.

Last July, the Southeast Texas Record reported on a suit filed in Jefferson County District Court by Terri McMillan.

In her suit, McMillan claims she was working at the Motiva refinery in Port Arthur on Dec. 1, 2009, when she slid down an embankment while attempting to retrieve tickets that had flown from her grasp.

Her attorney, James E. Payne of the Provost Umphrey law firm, argued that McMillan was performing a "required duty of her job" and Motiva "owed her a duty to warn her of the dangerous condition," court papers say.

However, a few months following the filing of the suit, Payne withdrew as McMillan's counsel after continued failure to reach his client, forcing her to represent herself.

Shortly afterwards, Motiva filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that McMillan had failed to produce any evidence.

On July 20 a summary judgment hearing was held in Judge Milton Shuffield's 136th District Court.

When McMillan failed to show for the hearing, Judge Shuffield granted Motiva's motion.

In her lawsuit, McMillan alleged that she suffered a tear in the right knee, pain to both her legs and lower back strain because of the fall.

She was seeking medical expenses, physical impairment, loss of earning capacity and disfigurement, the complaint says.

Motiva was represented by attorney Nicholas Baldo of the Stevens Baldo Freeman & Lighty law firm in Beaumont.

Jefferson County District Court case number: D184-401

More News