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Victims Sue over Chevron Fire in Richmond

Posted By Arnold & Itkin LLP || 26-Aug-2013

More than 5000 people have filed suit against Chevron over a refinery fire in the summer of 2012; attorneys filed the claim in Contra Costa County Superior Court on August 12. With the new suit, the total number of people suing over the Aug. 6, 2012, fire comes to more than 11,000.

According to the suit, "reckless conduct" caused the fire, which ended up sending more than 15,000 people to the hospital. In the suit, plaintiffs list nine causes for damages, including negligence, ultra-hazardous activity and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

According to an interim investigation report by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, Chevron ignored its own inspectors' warnings about aging, corroded piping that needed to be replaced in the refinery’s No. 4 crude unit. The plaintiffs’ attorney said, "Chevron knew that there was a problem with their unit and failed to take timely action. They put the health and safety of their own employees and the entire Bay Area community in jeopardy. This level of negligence is unacceptable, and we refuse to let them go unpunished."

In addition to the newly filed lawsuit, Chevron is also facing penalties and legal actions in connection with the fire. On Aug. 5, Chevron agreed to pay $2 million in fines and restitution after pleading no contest to six misdemeanor criminal counts. Shortly before that, Richmond officials announced they would sue Chevron for the first time in city history.

Chevron has already paid more than $10 million in claims to residents and reimbursements to hospitals and public services in connection with the incident, according to a company spokesperson.

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