The Buzbee Law firm recently brought a $10 million lawsuit on behalf of a welder who claims his face was set “ablaze” while working at a crude oil terminal in Nederland.
Seeking an award of punitive damages, Edward Galvan filed suit against Sunoco Pipeline, along with Carber Holdings and its Texas subsidiaries, on Aug. 15 in Harris County District Court.
According to the lawsuit, on Aug. 12 Galvan’s employer, L-Con, instructed him to work at a crude oil terminal in Nederland as part of a turnaround job being performed by multiple contractors at the site.
Sunoco, which owns the terminal, then instructed the L-Con crew to conduct welding operations on two flanges on a closed line at the facility, representing that the line was clean, clear and ready for work.
The job required several L-Con crewmembers, including Galvan, to work on a scaffold more than ten feet above ground.
“As welding operations were in progress, pressure built up inside the line. Suddenly and without warning, a 30” plug designed and installed by the Carber Defendants failed,” the suit states.
“Due to the extreme pressure, the 30” plug ejected from the line, striking Plaintiff in the chest and shoulder region. Crude oil within the line behind the escaping plug ignited, causing a flash fire.”
The force of the resulting explosion knocked Galvan’s welding mask off, and set his face ablaze, the suit states.
“Plaintiff was also thrown back several feet onto metal I-beams. As a result of the explosion, liquid fire landed on Plaintiff, covering his face, neck and upper-chest,” the suit states.
“In an attempt to escape the fire, Plaintiff tore off several pieces of clothing and jumped off of the scaffold. Had he not done so, he would likely have been burned alive.”
Prior to the welding work, Sunoco had contracted with Carber to perform work at the facility. Carber had entered the line and installed the plug, according to the suit.
“Carber’s work was to ensure the line was cleared and depressurized, and that no product could enter the line where welding would ultimately occur,” the suit states.
“Carber failed to install a release valve and/or line which would allow pressure behind the plug to escape safely. Because Carber did not install a release valve and/or line, or failed to properly install the plug, the pressure in the line caused the plug to fail which resulted in the explosion.”
Following the incident, Galvan, who suffered severe burns to his face and body, in addition to orthopedic injuries, was life-flighted to Memorial Hermann’s burn unit, where he is currently receiving extensive treatment, the suit states.
“Plaintiff faces a long road of recovery, and brings this suit to recover for his damages,” the suit states.
In addition to punitive damages, Galvan is suing for his past and future physical impairment, medical expenses, loss of earning capacity, and loss of household services.
Buzbee Law Firm attorneys Anthony Buzbee, Andrew Dao and Ryan Pigg represent him.
-David Yates, SE Texas Record