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Toxic exposure allegations could cost Texas refinery billions

Close to 48,000 claims of toxic exposure have been filed against BP by neighbors of its Texas City refinery, with the first state court trial having started in Galveston on Sept. 9. According to a local attorney who is not involved in the litigation, the plaintiffs in all of the cases could have a "home court advantage" based upon the sheer number of local residents who are suing.

The claimants allege that they were exposed to cancer-causing gases during a five-week period in 2010. BP is denying that anybody was ever injured by emissions from the refinery, which has since been sold.

The four plaintiffs in the initial case are seeking actual damages of up to $200,000 each and punitive damages in the amount of $10 billion. BP is alleged to have knowingly vented toxic chemicals from a defective refinery unit to a flare that BP allegedly knew was unable to destroy those toxins.

The alleged incident coincided around the time of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010 off the Louisiana coast, which also involved BP and for which it paid in excess of $30 billion in damages, fines and cleanup costs. BP still faces thousands of damage and injury claims related to that spill.

Whether a case involves a big company or a smaller entity, lawsuits in business can crop up every day. For anyone in Houston and the surrounding areas who is facing business litigation, an attorney who specializes in business law and dispute resolution could help by building a compelling case for resolving the conflict.

Source: Bloomberg, "BP Texas Refinery Neighbors Seek Billions at Toxic-Gas Trial (1)", Laurel Brubaker Calkins and Margaret Cronin Fisk, September 09, 2013