JC jury delivers $44M verdict for fatal workplace accident at ExxonMobil refinery

By David Yates | Sep 17, 2018

BEAUMONT – A Jefferson County has returned a $44 million verdict for a workplace accident at the ExxonMobil refinery that resulted in multiple injuries and the death of a worker.

Hector Barron, individually and representing the estate of Miguel Barron, filed suit against ExxonMobil, B&G Crane Service and AltairStrickland on May 17, 2016, in Jefferson County District Court.

Miguel was killed at the Beaumont Exxon refinery on May 11, 2016, during turnaround operations.

Miguel and his brother, Hector, were employed by AltairStrickland performing work on an elevated platform when a heavy pipe fell from overhead.


Vujasinovic  

The trial began Aug. 27 and ended Thursday, Sept. 13, with jurors awarding $44,370,000 verdict in favor of the family of Miguel Barron, Hector Barron, and Osiel Rocha.

Jurors found the negligence of ExxonMobil, B&G Crane and AltairStrickland caused the incident, assigning the majority of the blame to ExxonMobil and B&G Crane.

The jury found no negligence was committed by Miguel.

Miguel Barron, Jorge Barron, Hector Barron, and Osiel Rocha were employed as riggers at the time of the incident. They were tasked with performing the rigging on removing a 32,000-pound heat exchanger on an elevated platform.

During the process, a pipe fell from overhead, striking Miguel’s head and neck. Osiel Rocha was injured trying to lift the pipe off Miguel. Hector Barron and Jorge Barron suffered injuries due to the falling pipe and due to the rescue attempt of their brother, Miguel Barron.

Miguel Barron left behind three daughters, as well as his parents.

The investigation of the incident spanned more than two years. Dozens of depositions were taken in the case and thousands of documents were uncovered and analyzed.

During the course of the trial, the companies denied any wrongdoing.

After hearing all the evidence, jurors decided B&G Crane Services was 45 percent responsible, ExxonMobil was 45 percent responsible, and AltairStrickland was 10 percent responsible.

Attroneys Vuk Vujasinovic and Byron Alfred represent Jorge Barron, Hector Barron, Osiel Rocha, and the family of Miguel Barron.

"The family feels absolutely vindicated," said Alfred. "Jefferson County  jurors are not going to tolerate unsafe work environments."

Judge Justin Sanderson, 60th District Court, is presiding over the case.

Case No. B-198493

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