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Jury Awards More Than $82 Million After Man Died in Gas Plant Blast.

A jury has handed down a verdict of more than $82 million against two natural gas plant companies after a worker was killed in an explosion in Texas (TX), LawyersUSA.com has reported.

The case follows the death of Joshua Wade Petrie who was killed in 2007 at a natural gas processing plant in Cleburne, Texas. Petrie attempted to start a hot oil heater on a plant processor. After several attempts by Petrie, the heater exploded. Petrie suffered trauma to his head and chest, and died of his injuries in a hospital the next day,

"Juries are punishing energy companies in a way the federal government can't," said Robert E. Ammons, who represented Petrie's family.

Our sympathies go out to the family of the worker who died in this horrific and seemingly avoidable accident.

Petrie's widow, children and father brought a negligence action against Quicksilver Resources, the owner of the gas plant, and Hanover Compression, which sold the gas processing plant to Quicksilver. Hanover Compressions is now known as Exterran Energy Solutions.

The complaint asserted that Hanover, which owned the plant when it was located in Oklahoma (OK), failed to install purge systems and safety valves in the oil heater that would have prevented gas from building up inside and causing the explosion.

Industrial accidents have also claimed lives in Virginia (VA). Recently we reported on how Jerry Wayne Evans of Forest, Virginia, suffered a fatal industrial injury, while operating heavy machinery at International Paper near Lynchburg.

In 2009 a 35-year-old construction worker was killed in an accident near Langley Air Force Base in Hampton. This firm has been involved in a number of industrial accident cases including a case where a $375,000 settlement was made after a worker was injured when he used a faulty fiberglass stepladder. And in another factory accident, in Ohio, our client suffered a crushed, and then amputated thumb when a defective adjustable trailer jack suddenly failed. Only after extensive litigation did the manufacturer of the jack pay substantial compensation to our client.

Gas explosions can be particularly dangerous, unpredictable and devastating.  In 2006 about 17,000 workers and residents had to be evacuated for several days from Apex, North Carolina (NC), when a chlorine gas explosion destroyed most of a chemical plant. Residents of Apex were later awarded $7.85 million.

Juries often give high awards in these terrible cases where victims have suffered trauma or burns from explosions.  Recently in Fairfax County (VA) a jury awarded $4.75 million to Kathryn Hollis who suffered burns, shrapnel wounds and a traumatic brain injury in a major fireworks accident that propelled fireworks into a crowd. The explosion snapped one of her arms, set her hair on fire, and caused 12 shrapnel wounds.

See this video of an explosion in a rocket fuel factory at Henderson, Nevada (NV).


Richard N. Shapiro
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Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyer Serving Va Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake & all of Virginia
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