John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Sep. 23, 2013, 2:56pm

GALVESTON - BP's head counsel can continue representing the petrochemical company in the trial arising from a 2010 toxic event at a Texas City refinery, a local state district judge ruled.

Galveston County 56th District Court Judge Lonnie Cox rejected lead plaintiffs' attorney Tony G. Buzbee's motion to remove Ohio-based attorney Damond R. Mace before the eighth day of the emissions trial began on Sept. 20.

More than more than 50,000 people sued over the alleged six week-long release for at least $200,000 in damages, each original petition stating the hydrogen compressor in the refinery’s ultracracker unit went offline on Apr. 6, 2010, and subsequently caused a chemical leak.

In his motion entered the afternoon of Sept. 19, Buzbee accused Mace of impeaching a Texas City police officer who was one of his witnesses.

Mace purportedly accepted a transcript of the officer's testimony without properly examining the text, according to Buzbee.

While Mace boasts a Harvard education along with many accolades and credentials, Buzbee stated, his apparent lack of knowledge of local court rules rendered him unqualified to argue the case at hand.

Following the short meeting with Judge Cox, the trial continued with jurors watching a video deposition from an environmental specialist and live testimony from a professional engineer.

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