Refinery firewatch sues over exposure to toxic substances

By Kelly Holleran | Jun 25, 2011

A Jefferson County man claims his work as a firewatch for Valero caused him to be exposed to hydrogen sulfide, resulting in serious personal injuries.

Derrick Collins filed a lawsuit June 21 in Jefferson County District Court against Echo Maintenance, The Premcor Refining Group, doing business as Valero Port Arthur Refinery, and Texas Mutual Insurance Co.

In his complaint, Collins claims he was exposed to and inhaled hydrogen sulfide and other toxic substances during his work as a firewatch on Feb. 28.

In addition to his injuries, Collins lost earnings and his earning capacity, experienced pain, suffering, physical impairment and physical disfigurement and lost his ability to enjoy life because of his exposure, according to the complaint.

Collins blames the defendants for causing his injuries, saying they negligently failed to provide him with a safe environment, failed to inspect the work site to make sure it was safe and failed to remedy the condition on the premises, the suit states.

In his complaint, Collins seeks a judgment in excess of the minimum jurisdictional limits of Jefferson County District Court, plus pre- and post-judgment interest, costs, attorney's fees and other relief the court deems just.

John Werner of Reaud, Morgan and Quinn in Beaumont will be representing him.

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

Case No. D190-323

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