Pipefitter sues welding company over injuries at refinery

By Kelly Holleran | May 6, 2009

A Chambers County man and his wife say a Texas welding company owes them money for damages after the man injured himself while trying to remove bottles from a metal basket.

Jerry and Mary Weisse filed a lawsuit May 1 in Jefferson County District Court against New Wave Welding Technology.

The Weisses say Jerry Weisse was working as a pipefitter at Valero on Jan. 3, 2008, when the incident occurred.

New Wave had rented, sold or leased oxygen and acetylene bottles to Valero for use on the job site, the complaint says. The bottles came in a metal basket, sometimes referred to as a six pack.

As part of his job, Jerry Weisse was required to step onto the six pack. However, the basket lacked an adequate surface for a step and had no adequate handrails, the complaint says.

As a result, Jerry Weisse was seriously injured in his right upper extremity and required surgery, although the complaint does not specify how his injury occurred. He also incurred medical costs, lost his earning capacity and experienced physical pain, suffering, mental anguish, physical impairment, physical disfigurement, a loss of consortium and a loss of household services, according to the complaint.

Jerry Weisse claims New Wave Welding Technology was guilty of negligence, breached its warranty and defectively designed the six pack.

"The system designed to prevent the cable from leaving the sheave which was incorporated into the design of the product made the basis of this litigation was unreasonably dangerous and defective in that portions of the cable retention system could easily be separated from the product, weakened, and/or otherwise made ineffective during reasonable foreseeable uses of the product," the suit states.

The Weisses are seeking unspecified actual and exemplary damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, costs and other relief to which they may be entitled.

Gilbert T. Adams and Gilbert T. Adams III of the Law Offices of Gilbert T. Adams in Beaumont will be representing them.

The case has been assigned to Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th District Court.

Jefferson County District Court case number: D183-945.

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