Five contract workers have filed a lawsuit against Delek Refining for the Nov. 20 explosion and fire that killed two workers.
Joseph Lacour, of Galveston County, and Craig Ryan, Lyman Jackson, John Symank and Adam Trevino, all of Harris County, filed a lawsuit Nov. 26 in Smith County against the company, claiming they suffered painful, severe, debilitating and permanent injuries while working at the facility.
Delek spokesperson Susan Morgenstern said it is the company’s policy to not comment on litigation.
The lawsuit alleges that Delek was negligent and failed to maintain a safe work place, failed to implement proper operations and safety procedures and caused or permitted to cause the explosion.
The plaintiffs are seeking exemplary damages for pain and anguish, loss of wages, physical impairment and disfigurement, the lawsuit states.
The complaint was filed in 241st District Judge Jack Skeen Jr.’s court by Houston attorney Anthony Buzbee.
Jim Hammett, 52, and Dale Sharman, 52, were working in the saturated gas plant and naphtha hydrotreater unit where the explosion and fire occurred on the afternoon of Nov. 20 at 425 McMurrey Drive in Tyler.
Both were pulled from the site by emergency responders. They were flown by air ambulance to Parkland Hospital's specialty burn treatment center. Both men died of their injuries.
The refinery is shut down while the company and federal investigators search for a cause.
Delek has said the plant in northeast Tyler will remain closed until a cause is found. The refinery normally processes 60,000 barrels of oil per day and employs about 240.
The company has said most of the refinery was not damaged.
By Casey Knaupp
Tyler Morning Telegraph
December 4, 2008