Willbros Downstream has taken special exception to litigation brought by Praxair, a hydrogen generation facility alleging a defective manifold caused an energy release to occur.

Praxair filed the complaint Dec. 7 in Jefferson County District Court, blaming defendants Linde Boc Process Plants, Selas Fluid Processing Corp. and Willbros Downstream for causing the energy release.

The defendants are accused of negligently failing to provide it with accurate safe operating temperatures, failing to warn of the potential for a cracked refractory inside the collection manifold and failing to design the collection manifold from materials able to withstand the potential operating temperature.

Court records show that Willbros filed its exceptions to Praxair's original petition on March 23, asserting the Praxair failed to plead a contract with Willbros for the purchase of the manifold at issue.

Willbros further contends Praxair's petition does not allege claims specific to the company and does not specify the maximum amount of relief claimed.

In its suit, Praxair alleges an energy release occurred in the collection manifold on Dec. 8, 2009, causing damage to the manifold, a gas boiler, the facility's electrical system and other equipment near the manifold.

Praxair operates a hydrogen generation facility, whereby a methane steam reformer is used to convert natural gas and steam into high purity hydrogen.

Allegedly, the energy release occurred due to the failure of an external carbon steel pipe of the collection manifold, the suit states.

Praxair is seeking actual and consequential damages, plus repair costs, pre- and post-judgment interest, attorney's fees, costs and other relief the court deems just.

Brook F. Minx and Mike Prather of Donato, Minx and Brown in Houston represents Praxair.

Attorney Scott Kinzel of the Houston law firm Plavnicky, Kinzel & Makowski represents Willbros.

Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court, is assigned to the case.

Case No. E191-442

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