Multi-million dollar judgment stands in fatal workplace injury suit against B&G Crane

By David Yates | Jan 8, 2019

BEAUMONT – Following a Monday hearing, a multi-million dollar judgment against B&G Crane Service will stand.

Earlier this year, a Jefferson County 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.


Vujasinovic  

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

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

Court records show a final judgment was entered on Nov. 20, awarding the plaintiffs the following from B&G Crane:

- Hector Barron $1.8 million in damages, plus $168,657.53 in prejudgment interest;

- Jorge Barron $1,237,500 in damages, plus $89,950.68 in prejudgment interest;

- Miguel Barron, Sr. $2,018,250 in damages, plus $77,863.56 in prejudgment interest;

- Maria Barron $2,333,250 in damages, plus $117,216.99 in prejudgment interest;

- Isabel Barron $3,712,500 in damages, plus $98,383.56 in prejudgment interest;

- Alyssa Barron $4,185,000 in damages, plus $129.304. 11 in prejudgment interest;

- Mia Barron $4,162,500 in damages, plus $98,383.56 in prejudgment interest; and

- Osiel Rocha $517,500 in damages, plus $44,975.34 in prejudgment interest.

On Dec. 19, B&G Crane filed a motion for a new trial and/or remittitur, arguing there was insufficient evidence to support the jury’s findings.

Also, on Jan. 4, the plaintiffs filed a response to B&G Crane’s motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, contending “each and every jury finding was supported by more than enough evidence.” 

A JNOV is appropriate only if the judge determines that no reasonable jury could have reached the given verdict.

On Jan. 7, Judge Justin Sanderson, 60th District Court, denied the motion for JNOV, according to a courthouse official.

Case history

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 Barron.

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.

B&G Crane is represented in part by Kent Adams, attorney for the Houston law firm Edelman & Dicker.

Case No. B-198493

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