Three contract workers burned in a 2008 oil line rupture at Citgo’s East Plant, located in Corpus Christi, Texas, have reached a $7 million settlement with the company that designed the equipment. The oil release occurred in February of 2008, when a contract worker, Jose Herrera, tried to hook up a cleaning device to a crude vacuum unit. The connection point broke and Herrera and two other workers, Aaron Salinas and John Davis, were burned when gallons of hot crude oil spewed out.
Refined Technologies Inc., the company that designed the injection cleaning device, agreed to the settlement with the three workers. Under the agreement, Herrera and his family will receive the bulk of the settlement amount. The two other workers, who weren’t as severely burned, will receive smaller portions. Herrera, now 50, suffered burns to his face, neck and arms and underwent more than a year of skin grafts.
The lawsuit originally named Citgo Petroleum Corp. and Citgo Refining and Chemicals Co. as Defendants, but both were dismissed because of liability exemptions. Citgo did pay for the cleaning and detailing of more than 1,100 vehicles, boats and other refinery neighbors’ property that were spotted with droplets of the oily material. Robert C. Hilliard, a lawyer with Hilliard, Munez, Gonzales, a law firm located in Corpus Christi, Texas, represented these workers. Bob did a very good job in this case.
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