Chemical seller seeks $1M from testing companies over toxicity report

By Kelly Holleran | Dec 30, 2008

Martin Product Sales is seeking more than $1 million in a suit filed against chemical testing companies it alleges falsified levels of toxic contaminants.

Martin sued Camin Cargo Control Inc. and Chemtex Environmental Laboratory Inc. on Dec. 19 in Jefferson County District Court.

The suit alleges that Martin sold 1,400 metric tons of sulfuric acid after the Camin and Chemtex falsely reported there were no undesirable contaminants in the sulfuric acid.

According to the suit, Martin planned to seel 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.

Camin, acting through Chemtex, failed to conduct the sampling, contaminant analysis or testing of the sulfuric acid, the suit states. Instead, it certified the sulfuric acid did not contain commercially significant levels of undesirable contaminants, Martin alleges.

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

The company claims it began to receive claims for significant replacement, remediation, handling and mitigation costs because of the contaminated sulfuric acid.

Because of the incident, Martin Product Sales claims it has sustained direct and consequential damages of at least $1.35 million.

"Once Plaintiff learned that the sulfuric acid was contaminated (long after this information was sought from Defendant), Plaintiff undertook commercially reasonable measures to mitigate contamination and other damage to Plaintiff's property and equipment, the environment at large, and the property and equipment of those to whom Plaintiff had delivered the contaminated sulfuric acid," the suit states.

Camin and Chemtx breached their contract and warranties by failing to properly sample, test and analyze the sulfuric acid, according to the complaint.

The companies also negligently misrepresented their reports on the sulfuric acid and were negligent by failing to properly sample the sulfuric acid, the suit states.

Martin Product Sales is seeking direct and incidental costs, direct and consequential damages of at least $1.35 million, exemplary damages, attorney's fees, pre-judgment interest at the maximum rate allowed by law, post-judgment interest at the legal rate, costs and other relief to which it may be entitled.

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

The case has been assigned to Judge Bob Wortham, 58th District Court.

Case No. A182-887

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