On July 27, roughly 100,000 pounds of acetic acid was released at the LyondellBasell chemical plant in Harris County, near La Porte, Texas.
Two men died at the scene, and 30 others were hospitalized, mostly due to respiratory problems. One person was treated for severe burns, according to a spokesman for LyondellBasell.
Within days, the first two lawsuits were filed against LyondellBasell, accusing the company of “gross negligence” for failing to fix the leak.
The lawsuit alleges that LyondellBasell discovered the leak on the same day of the accident and called in experts who specialize in fixing industrial leaks.
However, LyondellBasell decided not to hire the experts to do the repairs immediately. Instead, they reached out to other contractors to fix the leak temporarily.
The spill occurred later that day, when roughly 100,000 pounds of acid spewed out of a broken cap on a pressurized line.
One of the lawsuits was filed by a man who was working in the facility and had to “flee for his life,” according to the lawsuit. He suffered breathing problems due to chemical fumes, as well as back and knee injuries while running from the explosion, his lawsuit claims.