Toxicity report trial ends with $1.4M verdict

David Yates Aug. 4, 2011, 4:47am

Finding that two defendants falsified a toxicity report, a Jefferson County jury awarded Martin Product Sales nearly $1 million in damages, plus an additional $445,500 in attorney's fees.

As previously reported, Martin filed suit against Camin Cargo Control and Chemtex Environmental Laboratory on Dec. 19, 2008, in Jefferson County District Court, alleging the chemical testing companies falsified levels of toxic contaminants in a batch of sulfuric acid.

The case went to trial on July 25 in Judge Bob Wortham's 58th District Court and ended Aug. 2.

According to the charge of the court, jurors found Camin and Chemtex equally negligent, assigning 50 percent of the blame to each defendant.

Jurors awarded Martin $991,465.77 for the expenses associated with the sale and distribution of sulfuric acid and also awarded an additional $445,500 in attorney's fees.

Court records show Martin sold 1,400 metric tons of sulfuric acid after Camin and Chemtex allegedly falsely reported there were no undesirable contaminants in the sulfuric acid.

Martin had planned to sell 1,400 metric tons of sulfuric acid and hired Camin to sample, analyze and test the sulfuric acid to reveal whether it contained appreciable levels of commercially undesirable contaminants, such as highly toxic mercury, and to reveal any contaminants it did find.

Only after delivering the contaminated sulphuric acid to its customers did Martin Product Sales learn of the incorrect certification, the suit states.

During the trial, Martin maintained that Camin and Chemtx breached their contract and warranties by failing to properly sample, test and analyze the sulfuric acid.

Ronald L. White and Salvatore P. LoPiccolo II of White, MacKillop & Gallant PC in Houston are representing the plaintiff.

The defendants are represented by Beaumont attorneys Don Lighty and Bill Richey.

Case No. A182-887

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