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Summary judgment hearing slated in suit alleging welder sparked fire

By David Yates | Jan 19, 2011

A summary judgment hearing has been slated for later this month in case alleging a teenage welder sparked a fire and burned a Jefferson County resident.

James Anderson sued Virgil and Rodney Martel in October 2009, alleging he was injured when their teenage relative, Kevin Martel, indirectly caused a container he was welding to explode.

On Jan. 4, a notice of hearing was filled in Jefferson County District Court, notifying the parties that a hearing on Virgil Martel's motion for summary judgment was slated for Jan. 28.

Virgil Martel filed his motion Nov. 12, asserting that he did not operate the wielding shop and is therefore not responsible for Anderson's injuries.

In his suit, Anderson claims he was performing yard work at the Martels' property on June 23, 2009, when he heard activity coming from a structure on the property.

Anderson entered the structure and began speaking with Kevin Martel, a 15-year-old relative of Virgil and Rodney Martel, who was welding a handle onto a vessel, court records show.

Court records show the vessel had previously contained diesel or some other fuel and was not properly cleaned and not prepared for welding, causing it to explode and catch fire.

"Plaintiff alleges that the vessel exploded and that such explosion was a proximate cause of catastrophic injuries to the Plaintiff," the complaint says.

Anderson is suing to recover medical expenses and damages for his alleged mental anguish.

Tommy L. Yeates and Anthony Malley III of Moore Landrey in Beaumont represents him.

Germer Gertz attorney Larry Simmons of Beaumont represents Virgil Martel.

Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court, is presiding over the case.

Case No. E185-134

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