SE Texas Record

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Ninth Court reverses injury claim against Sammi Machinery, suit over fire at Chevron Phillips

State Court

By Takesha Thomas | Jul 16, 2019

Chevphil

BEAUMONT -- A trial court award in a case involving Sammi Machinery has been reversed by an appeals court in a case involving two men who sustained injuries in a fire and explosion at the Chevron Phillips Chemical Company. 

Justice Leanne Johnson, along with justices Steve McKeithen and Hollis Horton for the Texas Court of Appeals Ninth District at Beaumont on July 11 reversed an appeal filed by Sammi Machinery Co. Ltd., the trial court's ruling against them for lack of specific personal jurisdiction. 

Johnson, writing in part, noted "We have determined that the plaintiffs failed to allege or establish that Sammi Limited’s contact with Texas had a “substantial connection” to the operative facts of the litigation, and, therefore, the trial court lacked specific jurisdiction over Sammi based on its contacts with Texas." She added, "We have also concluded that Sammi Machinery’s contacts cannot be imputed to Sammi Limited as a successor-in-interest, and we rejected the application of either the de facto merger doctrine or the continuation theory."

The matter will go back to trial court for dismissal and severance of the claims against Sammi Limited. 

Jedadiah Mathews and Chelsea Mathews filed suit against Sammi alleging that the company should be held liable for injuries sustained in a fire and explosion at the Chevron Phillips Chemical Company in 2013. Both Mathew and Marines were injured in the fire. They allege that since a defective sliding line blind valve, designed and manufactured by Sammi, was suspected to be the cause of the fire, the company should be held liable. 

However, on appeal, Sammi argued that the trial court did not hold jurisdiction in the matter. According to court papers, Sammi argued in part that "because it did not exist at the time of the incident, it could not have purposefully availed itself of the privilege of conducting activities in Texas in connection with the claims in this lawsuit."

According to court papers, Sammi Machinery was dissolved in 2010. One year later, the same owner of the company, started Sammi Limited. The owner alleges the two companies have no relationship. 

But attorneys for the plaintiffs allege that jurisdiction is indeed valid since Sammi Limited conducts business in Texas and continues to have contacts and distributes its products in the state. 

Justices found, however, that the "plaintiffs failed to allege or establish that Sammi Limited’s contact with Texas had a “substantial connection” to the operative facts of the litigation adding that "Sammi Machinery’s contacts cannot be imputed to Sammi Limited as a successor-in-interest, and we rejected the application of either the de facto merger doctrine or the continuation theory."

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