Valero in trial over refinery worker's acid burn

David Yates Sep. 29, 2010, 11:14am

A Jefferson County jury has been tasked to decide if Valero Energy is responsible for a refinery worker's acid burn.

Last January, Orange County resident Allan Gaspard, who burned his hand with acid, filed suit against Valero.

On Tuesday, Sept. 28 jury selection for the trial of Gaspard vs. Valero began in Judge Bob Wortham's 58th District Court.

Court papers show Gaspard was performing work on a line carrying hydrofluoric acid at the Valero Port Arthur refinery when a valve malfunctioned and released the acid.

Gaspard testified on Wednesday that an extremely painful blister formed on his hand and that he had to be transported by ambulance to University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston for care.

He said the pain was so severe that the morphine administered at the hospital had "hardly any affect" on him.

Gaspard alleges Valero negligently failed to maintain the pipeline and is asking jurors to award him damages for his past and future physical pain, mental anguish, impairment and lost wages.

In its response to the suit, Valero exerted a general denial of any negligence on its part and claimed Gaspard's employer was responsible for his safety.

Ryan Douglas White and Eric Newell of Brent Coon & Assoc. in Beaumont represent Gaspard.

Valero is represented by Beaumont attorney Michael Eaves of the Calvert Eaves Clarke & Stelly law firm.

Case No. A183-062

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