Jury Awards $82.5M in Workplace Death Lawsuit
Harris County, TX: An $82.5 million settlement has been awarded to the estate of 27-year old Josua Wade Petrie, who was killed in a workplace accident. His estate had initiated a wrongful death suit.
On May 25, 2007, Mr. Petrie was working as a plant operator at a natural gas processing plant. A hot oil heater had stopped during the previous shift, and Petrie told the other operator on the shift that he was going to try to restart it.
The heater had four burners and pilot lights, which were fueled by gas from the plant. To start the heater, one operator manned a control panel, and a second operator - Petrie - manually opened valves to allow delivery of fuel gas through pipes to the pilot lights and burners.
Petrie and the other operator tried several times, without success, to light one of the burners. Petrie radioed the second operator at the control panel that he was going to try lighting another burner. The second operator began the programmed steps at the control panel and gave Petrie a thumbs-up. Unknown to the operators, gas had accumulated in the area of the burners, and when Petrie tried to light one of them, the heater exploded, killing Petrie.
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Published on Jul-21-10
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