Man sues over exposure to toxic crude oil from release at tank farm

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Jul. 31, 2012, 5:10am


GALVESTON - A local man claims he was exposed to toxic compounds last year while working in Texas City, recent court documents say.

Vernon Fox's lawsuit against NuStar Logistics LP and Valero Energy Corp. claims the defendants released approximately 265 barrels of crude oil from Tank 091 without authorization at the Texas City Tank Farm on Jan. 12, 2011. Fox's wife, Mikki Fox, is also a plaintiff in the suit.

The original petition, filed July 23 in Galveston County District Court, shows "several thousand pounds of volatile organic compounds" were emitted as Fox traveled down the road adjacent to the over-filled tank from which the release occurred as part of his employment.

"Apparently, the maximum fill amount was miscalculated by operations and the tank gauge alarm systems were either turned off or were malfunctioning," the suit says.

"This was an avoidable event and occurred as a result of negligence."

The defendants are additionally blamed for failing to adopt and comply with proper operating procedures.

Consequently, the plaintiffs sue for physical pain and impairment, mental anguish, and losses of earning capacity, household services and consortium.

Attorney Alton C. Todd with The Law Firm of Alton C. Todd in Friendswood is representing the complainants, and Galveston County 10th District Court Judge David Garner is presiding over the case.

Case No. 12-cv-1541

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