Judge continues chemical release suit against UCAR

David Yates Mar. 8, 2011, 5:18am

A local judge has continued a suit against UCAR Pipeline over a chemical release, bumping the trial date to early October.

In September 2008, Jefferson County resident Pearl Holmes, on behalf of herself and those similarly situated, filed suit against UCAR Pipeline and Texas Petrochemicals, alleging she and the other plaintiffs were injured on Oct. 18, 2007, when UCAR's Port Arthur pipeline ruptured and ignited.

Court documents show the root cause of the incident was a thinning pipe wall, which buckled under pressure and released ethylene and other chemicals into the atmosphere.

On Feb. 23, Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court, continued the case, rescheduling a trial date for Oct. 3.

UCAR had filed the motion for continuance on Feb. 15, arguing that the plaintiffs did not comply with a July 1 court order to produce medical authorizations, stalling the discovery process, the motion states.

UCAR maintains that "of the 323 plaintiffs, only a handful of them have seen a medical provider," and that the plaintiffs have failed to produce one credible expert to substantiate their claims.

UCAR is represented by Houston attorney Ricky Raven of Thompson & Knight.

The plaintiffs are represented by Port Arthur attorney Ronnie Jones.

Case No. E182-468

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