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Scott Kappes
Scott Kappes
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Lawsuit Alleges Wash Station Could Have Prevented Permanent Injury

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A lawsuit filed late last week by Juan G. Martinez-Garcia
alleges that Total Petrochemicals USA Inc. was negligent in not providing a
wash station and failed to train employees. Martinez-Garcia was allegedly sprayed in the face with
chemicals, but when he ran to the nearest water hose for relief found only a
nonworking spigot. Martinez claims that the prolonged exposure due to the lack
of emergency wash equipment caused him permanent injury.

According to his petition, on Dec. 12, 2006,
Martinez-Garcia, a Pl Transport Drivers employee, was delivering chemicals to
Total’s Port Arthur refinery, “when hazardous chemicals sprayed his face
and mouth.”

Martinez claims that he immediately began to seek a water
source or wash station to rinse the hazardous chemical off of his skin.
Martinez-Garcia claims that when he found the water hose it was inoperable. At
this time Martinez-Garcia claims that he began to look for another water hose
or a wash station. He was unable to locate either as the chemicals were burning
his face and mouth. A total employee eventually came to the scene, but also had
no knowledge of the location of the wash station.

The Total operator, in charge of supervising Martinez-Garcia
while on the premises, finally showed up and directed Martinez-Garcia to the
secluded wash station. After he had washed off in the shower Martinez-Garcia
was told by the operator that he looked ok and that he should drive back to
Houston. Martinez-Garcia’s case alleges that this hour and half drive caused
even further damage to his face.

Martinez-Garcia claims Total was negligent for failing to
have an operable water hose, easy access to a wash station, get him proper
medical treatment and supervise him.

He is demanding a trial by jury and is suing for past and future pain, mental
anguish, disfigurement, impairment, loss of earnings and all court costs.