Worker sues after falling into hole and suffering steam burns

Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau Dec. 13, 2011, 5:00am


MARSHALL - An industrial worker has filed a personal injury lawsuit against Eastman Chemical that claims an underground pipe caused the ground to give away and resulted in his falling into a hole.

Antonio Marco Torres filed suit against Eastman Chemical Co. on Dec. 7 in the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division. His wife, Estella, is also a plaintiff.

The incident occurred on May 24 while Torres was working for Gregg Industries Insulators. He and his co-workers were instructed to repair a steam leak near a room on the grounds of the Eastman Chemical Co. plant in Longview. The suit states Torres was walking back to his work truck to retrieve tools, the ground underneath him collapsed, which caused him fall into a hole.

The defendant is accused of negligence for failing to provide Torres with adequate assistance and necessary equipment to perform the job, failing to provide a safe place to work, failing to implement procedures which would protect workers, failing to adequately monitor the environment which Torres was assigned to work. Torres states that suffered second and third degree burns from hot steam coming from the bottom of the hole.

According to the allegations, a corroded underground pipe remained unrepaired until the dirt above the pipe slowly traveled through the pipe creating a massive void underneath the surface, such that Torres weight was sufficient to make the ground surface to cave.

Eastman Chemical Co. is also accused of negligence for failing to monitor the discharge of fluids flowing through the pipe that runs from the de-coking pot, failing to have any type of maintenance/inspection program to maintain/inspect the pipe, failing to use a pipe capable of withstanding extreme temperatures, and failing to inspection department to inspect and identify the corrosion of the pipe.

Torres is seeking damages for physical pain, suffering and mental anguish, loss of wages, loss of wage earning capacity, disfigurement, physical impairment, medical expenses, loss of consortium, exemplary damages, interest and court costs.

A jury trial is requested.

John D. Sloan Jr. and Carson R. Runge of Sloan, Bagley & Perry Law Firm are representing the plaintiffs.

U.S. District Judge David Folsom is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:11-cv-00504

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