Explosion injures Harris County worker, results in lawsuit

By John Suayan, Galveston Bureau | Sep 17, 2012


GALVESTON - Harris County resident Thomas Edward Williams is suing Eaton Corp. and Electric Power Systems Inc. in response to injuries he claims he sustained from an electrical explosion.

According to a lawsuit filed Sept. 14 in Galveston County District Court, Williams was hurt at a Texas City plant on Apr. 27, 2011, as he tried to restart a breaker after a power failure.

The suit shows the plaintiff, whose employer is not a party in the case, was assigned the responsibility in question.

"The motor protection relay read 'Ready' (meaning off and ready to start), the control system monitors inside the control room also showed the motor as stopped and in need of a reset in order to start it," the original petition says.

The suit states the motor had restarted unbeknownst to the complainant, insisting "this erroneous indication was the fault of the negligently wired motor protection relay" and "the motor protection relay should have kept the breaker off."

An arc flash occurred and harmed Williams, the suit says.

Eaton is implicated because it installed the subject machinery eight years ago, while EPS is faulted for conducting an inspection which deemed the equipment "acceptable" but overlooked a missing safety interlock.

Consequently, Williams seeks unspecified monetary damages.

He is represented by attorney Alton C. Todd with The Law Firm of Alton C. Todd in Friendswood.

Galveston County 405th District Court Judge Wayne Mallia is presiding over the case.

Case No. 12-cv-2035

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