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Fontenot v. Citgo Petroleum Corp.

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Third Circuit

May 23, 2018

ANTONIO FONTENOT, ET AL.
v.
CITGO PETROLEUM CORPORATION, ET AL. DONALD WELCH, ET AL.
v.
CITGO PETROLEUM CORPORATION, ET AL.

          APPEAL FROM THE FOURTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF CALCASIEU, NO. 2007-2626 C/W 2007-3059 HONORABLE RONALD F. WARE, DISTRICT JUDGE.

          Robert E. Landry Kevin P. Fontenot Patrick D. Gallaugher, Jr., Scofield, Gerard, Pohorelsky, Gallaugher & Landry, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT: Citgo Petroleum Corporation

          Kirk Patrick, III Heath Savant, Donahue, Patrick & Scott, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE: R & R Construction Co.

          Wells T. Watson Jake D. Buford, Bagget, McCall, Burgess, Watson & Gaughan, COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE: Antonio Fontenot, et al.

          Marshall Simien, Jr. Simien Law Firm, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT: Citgo Petroleum Corporation

          Richard E. Wilson Somer G. Brown, Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel & Wilson, LLC, COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE: Antonio Fontenot, et al.

          Craig Isenberg Joshua Cox Kyle W. Siegel, Barrasso Usdin Kupperman Freeman & Sarver, L.L.C., COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT: Citgo Petroleum Corporation

          James Patrick Cooney, Royston, Razor, Vickery, & Williams, LLP, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDAN/T APPELLANT: Citgo Petroleum Corporation.

          Court composed of Ulysses Gene Thibodeaux, Chief Judge, John D. Saunders, Elizabeth A. Pickett, Shannon J. Gremillion, and Candyce J. Perret, Judges.

          Perret, J., concurs in part and dissents in part for the reasons assigned by Chief Judge Thibodeaux.

          JOHN D. SAUNDERS JUDGE.

         This appeal involved the claims of fourteen plaintiffs who allege that they sustained injuries from an exposure to sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide released by a refinery. The trial court awarded the plaintiffs for their injuries as well as for fear of future injury and a combination of mental anguish/loss of enjoyment of life.

         The owner of the refinery appeals raising two assignments of error. We affirm, in part, and reverse, in part.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY:

         The plaintiffs in this case include a group of workers at the Firestone Polymers plant across Highway 108 from the Citgo Petroleum Corporation's refinery in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The plaintiffs were exposed to sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide on June 19, 2006, when a gas release occurred. The symptoms the plaintiffs endured included eye, nose, and throat irritation, headaches, congestion, and chest pains.

         After a trial, the trial court awarded damages to nine of the plaintiffs for fear of future injury. Further, the trial court awarded damages to all fourteen of the plaintiffs for a combination of mental anguish/loss of enjoyment ...


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