News Inferno; September 9, 2013
BP is facing the first of nearly 48,000 lawsuits alleging toxic exposure from people in the area of a Texas refinery who have promised to give the billions of dollars in punitive damages they seek to a charity, should their litigation be successful, according to Bloomberg.com.
The residents allege that BP knowingly exposed them to cancer-causing gases for a five-week period in 2010 without giving any warning. The six plaintiffs, who are involved in the state court trial that just commenced in Galveston, Texas, are seeking up to $200,000 each in actual damages, as well as $10 billion in punitive damages, In court papers, the plaintiffs indicated that the punitive damage award would be donated,Bloomberg.com reported.
According to the plaintiffs’ lead attorney, speaking to Bloomberg.com, BP intentionally vented about 500,000 pounds of toxic chemicals—the mix included benzene—from a defective refinery unit to a flare BP knew could not eliminate the toxins. BP would have lost in excess of $20 million had it closed down the unit during repairs, he added. BP denies that anyone was injured by the since-sold refinery emissions.