Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

December 30, 2012

DuPont lawsuit moved to federal court

Kenneth Hart
The Independent

ASHLAND —  A lawsuit filed by the widow of a man who died after being burned by sulfuric acid at DuPont’s Wurtland plant has been moved from state to federal court.

Notice of Teresa Owens’ suit being moved from Greenup Circuit Court to U.S. District Court in Ashland was filed on Thursday. The case has been assigned to Senior Judge Henry R. Wilhoit Jr.

Owens, of Chinn Street in Wurtland, originally filed suit in state court Nov. 21. Her suit stems from October 2011 death of her husband, Roger Dale Owens.

Roger Owens, 55, died in October of last year, 19 days after being burned by sulfuric acid that splashed on him from a rail car he was loading at the Wurtland plant. Authorities said Owens suffered chemical burns to his head, face, neck and chest in the accident.

In her suit, Teresa Owens alleges some of the components involved in unloading the car malfunctioned and caused the incident and her husband’s injuries. She claims DuPont should have done a better job inspecting and testing them.

In addition to DuPont, the suit also names as defendants CSX Transportation Inc., Trinity Industries and Texana Tank Co., all of which are associated with the rail car and its components., which Owens claims were faulty.

Greenup County Emergency Medical Services is also a defendant in the suit. The complaint faults the agency for allegedly not having proper equipment on board the ambulance to treat Owens and failing to call a second ambulance immediately.

According to the suit, one of Roger Owens’ co-workers called 911 a second time to get another ambulance dispatched.

The alleged delay in response intensified the severity of the injuries, the suit claims.

Teresa Owens is seeking an unspecified amount of damages, claiming medical expenses and loss of property, earning potential and Roger Owens’ pain and suffering.

She is seeking punitive damages, also in an unspecified amount.

Claims made in civil lawsuits state only one side of an issue.

KENNETH HART can be reached at khart@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2654.