DuPont recently answered one of the wrongful death suits brought a after a lethal gas leak took the lives of four workers at its LaPorte facility, asserting the claim is barred by the Texas Worker’s Compensation Act.
In the early morning hours of Nov. 15, a chemical spill in the Crop Protection Unit released lethal methyl mercaptan. The unit stores methyl mercaptan in liquid form, which is used as a fungicide.
Four people working in the area died after exposure to the toxic chemical, among them a woman from Southeast Texas and two brothers.
As previously reported, on Nov. 17, two days after the incident, Beaumont attorneys Clay Dugas and Cody Rees filed a wrongful death suit against E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. and Plant Manager Randall Clements in Harris County 270th State District Court on behalf of Michelle Tisnado, the widow of Gibby Tisnado.
Court records show that on Monday, Jan. 12 DuPont and Clements filed their special exceptions and original answer, asserting a general denial and that Clements should be dismissed on the grounds that the petition fails to state a cause of action upon which relief may be granted against him.
The answer further argues the plaintiffs’ causes of action as pled are barred by the Texas Worker’s Compensation Act.
Court records further show that on Wednesday Michelle Tisnado amended her petition, which now accuses Clements of negligently failing to develop and institute maintenance plans to prevent leaks.
The plaintiffs are seeking an award of punitive damages in amount more than $1,000,000.
DuPont is represented in part by M.C. Carrington, attorney for the Houston law firm MehaffyWeber.
Those killed were Crystle Rae Wise, 53, of Groves; Wade Baker, 60, a crew supervisor who had been at DuPont for 40 years and brothers Bobby Tisnado, 36, and Gilbert “Gibby” Tisnado, 49.
Case No. 2014-67139