Sources believe that a faulty valve caused the leak at a La Porte DuPont plant that took the lives of four workers early Saturday morning. Now, family members are blaming DuPont for the accident, claiming that DuPont acted negligently.
Family members of one victim filed suit earlier this week, noting that the victim even tried to repair the broken valve before he died.
The wife of another victim filed a wrongful death suit on Monday, naming the plant manager as a liable party in the accident. Another woman, the daughter of a third victim, filed a restraining order against the defendants earlier this week.
According to one of the lawsuits, the defendants "had actual knowledge of the conditions in the work area, but…proceeded to use the work area in conscious disregard for the safety of its employees."
Both plaintiffs are seeking an excess of $1 million for damages, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Deaths attributed to valve failure.
According to multiple reports, including a spokesperson for DuPont, the chemical leak occurred when a valve failed and exposed the workers to methyl mercaptan.
Methyl mercaptan is a dangerous chemical used by DuPont to create pesticides. Typically, the substance is stored as a liquid and only turns into a vapor when exposed to oxygen.
News reports indicate that approximately 100 pounds of methyl mercaptan leaked into the air on Saturday morning. Even brief contact with the chemical can lead to serious – even fatal – health complications, such as fluid building up in the lungs, nausea, and dizziness.
DuPont worksite still isn't safe.
Federal inspectors and DuPont are conducting investigations of the accident. The Chemical Safety Board indicated yesterday that the plant is still dangerous because pockets of gaseous methyl mercaptan may be trapped in a vent line.
DuPont did not offer any comments on the lawsuits, but a spokesperson said that the company is cooperating with federal investigators.
"DuPont is cooperating with these agency reviews," said the spokesperson, "While these efforts are ongoing, it is premature for DuPont to provide information outside of these processes."
Liability for Workplace Accidents
At The Daspit Law Firm, we believe that victims of workplace accidents and their families have the right to seek financial compensation for their suffering and financial damages. Chemical plants are innately dangerous, which is why employers, such as DuPont, are responsible to take the necessary precautions to protect their employees.
As former insurance defense lawyers, our team knows how both sides of a lawsuit think. We are familiar with common defense strategies. If you sustained an injury or the loss of a family member in plant accident, our Houston attorneys can put this experience to work for you.