HOUSTON – A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of a worker reportedly severely burned by acid and the family of another worker who died after a chemical leak at the LyondellBasell Complex in La Porte on July 27.
According to a release from Abraham Watkins Law Firm, the family of deceased worker Dustin Day, as well as injured worker Seth Wheeler, are alleging “negligence and gross negligence claims against LyondellBasell Acetyls, LLC, Lyondell Chemical Company and Equistar Chemicals, LP.”
Before the deadly incident, attorneys said LyondellBasell became aware of the leak in the Acetyls Unit and called a company that specializes in sealing and repairing industrial leaks.
“After the company recommended that LyondellBasell have the leak repaired, Lyondell chose not to have the company repair the leak at that time and instead called other contractors,” the lawsuit stated.
According to LyondellBasell, nearly 100,000 pounds of acetic acid was released.
Wheeler was reportedly exposed to harmful acid and sustained acid burns internally and externally. According to attorneys, he believed he would burn to death at the La Porte Complex due to “the dangerous release and has been on a ventilator since.”
Wheeler’s attorneys said he has had surgeries on his face and eyes, and he will require other surgeries in the future.
Day, along with one other person, died at the LyondellBasell facility. Company officials said several others were injured during the chemical leak. According to the lawsuit, the plaintiffs are seeking aggregate monetary relief over $1,000,000 to help with a wide array of expenses including but not limited to lost wages, medical costs, and funeral expenses.
Lawyers said as of Tuesday, Wheeler is still hospitalized and in critical condition. Day’s family said he was laid to rest on Aug. 1 in Oklahoma.
“Once again we see how the lives of workers are put at risk by the management at our area’s chemical plants. The acid release was definitely preventable. Instead, we are filing suit because workers’ safety was ignored,” said attorney Benny Agosto Jr.
LyondellBasell is one of the largest plastics, chemicals and refining companies in the world and owns 18 locations in Texas, according to its website. The company says it sells products in more than 100 countries and is the world’s largest producer of polypropylene compounds and the largest licensor of polyolefin technologies.