BP Settles Four Injury Lawsuits, Has 1,200 Pending

BP has settled four civil lawsuits filed by contractors who were injured on March 23, 2005, when an explosion killed 15 workers and injured 180 at the company's Texas City, Texas, refinery, The Houston Chronicle reported Sept. 19. Lawyers are not disclosing the settlement amounts for these cases, which are filed in Galveston's 212th District Court before Judge Susan Criss. BP has settled all cases involving fatalities in the incident, for which OSHA fined it a record $21 million, but about 1,200 of the original 3,000 lawsuits filed against it for the incident are still pending, the newspaper reported in a copyrighted story.

The plaintiffs' lawyer in these cases is Brent Coon of Beaumont, Texas. He represented another plaintiff, Eva Rowe, who sued BP for damages because both of her parents died in the blast. Coon's firm, Brent Coon & Associates (www.bcoonlaw.com), supports a Texas legislative bill that would require more state oversight of refineries, certification and competency testing of refinery personnel, and elimination of open-air release systems such as the blowdown stack that was involved in the explosion and had no flare.

Judge Criss told the Chronicle she has ordered mediation for the pending cases, which have potential trial dates in October and November.

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