Woman collecting worker’s comp has suit against Valero tossed

By David Yates | Aug 16, 2018

BEAUMONT – The Ninth Court of Appeals has affirmed a lower court’s ruling granting The Premcor Refining Group summary judgment in a personal injury lawsuit.

While collecting worker’s compensation, Yvonne Trahan filed suit against Premcor, doing business as Valero Port Arthur Refinery, for burn injuries she received while on the job.

On Aug. 16, the Ninth Court affirmed the company’s summary judgment win, finding the evidence conclusively established Premcor was Trahan’s employer and it subscribed to a workers’ compensation policy.

“The evidence also established Trahan received workers’ compensation benefits under the workers’ compensation insurance policy,” the opinion states. “Premcor therefore was entitled to summary judgment based on the exclusive remedy defense under the (Texas Workers’ Compensation Act).

“The judgment of the trial court is affirmed.”

Trahan, who worked at the Port Arthur facility for 35 years, was injured on Sept. 27, 2013. She was catching samples at the sample station for a boiler when steam was released from a valve, severely burning her upper torso.

Trahan received and accepted workers’ compensation benefits and was still receiving them at the time of her deposition after the lawsuit was filed, court records show.

She was paid $208,577.72 for indemnity and medical benefits.

On appeal, Trahan maintained the trial court erred in granting summary judgment and also that a recusal judge erred in denying her motion to recuse.

Trahan moved to recuse the trial judge because the judge had knowledge his sister-in-law, whose name was on an incident investigation report, was likely to be a material witness in the case.

Houston attorney Brian Beckcom represents the Trahan.

Premcor is represented by Michael Eaves, attorney for the Beaumont law firm Calvert, Eaves, Clarke & Stelly.

Appeals case No. o9-17-00005-CV. Jefferson County District Court case No. A195-793-C

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