Thirteen plaintiffs are suing Tenneco, Inc. over their plant in Hartwell, Georgia, in the Hart County Superior Court. The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified punitive damages against the company for premises liability (https://www.sclawpc.com/), nuisance, and loss of consortium. This is an ongoing problem for Tenneco, and comes on the heels of their recently having to pay $100,000 in fines for Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) violations within the last year and a half. In addition to Tenneco, three other companies- Compass Health and Safety, LTD, Atotech, and KCH Services, LLC- are also listed in this personal injury lawsuit.
The allegations in the lawsuit against Tenneco, a company that manufactures vehicle replacement parts, come from the plaintiffs’ exposure to high levels of the chemical hexavalent chromium, which is used in the production of shock absorbers and struts for cars, for eight of the 13 plaintiffs. Those eight were employees at the Tenneco Hartwell plant. The lawsuit alleges that the four defendant companies failed to “exercise ordinary care of the premise” and failed to “maintain safety” of the work area.
The complaint alleges that all eight workers- Jonathon T. Vickery, Ricky Willis, Max McCollum, Roger Freeman, Charles R. Allen, Ralph Burdette, Hubert Leon Pierce, and Wesley Willimon- suffered health problems as a result of exposure to hexavalent chromium. They particularly highlight nasal and respiratory injuries. Studies have shown that long-term exposure to this chemical also increases the risk of cancer.
The lawsuit claims that the high levels of exposure to this chemical has continued since 2007, when KCH was hired to install a ventilation system. The complaint states that the ventilation system was faulty and workers continued to be exposed to high levels of hexavalent chromium. The plaintiffs claim they alerted the company to the flaws and defects of the ventilation system, but the company took no action until 2011.
Tenneco has been fined twice already this year from OSHA for unsafe levels of that particular chemical found in their plant. OSHA also found violations during an inspection in April 2011. The violations included, aside from the unsafe levels of chemicals, failure to send affected employees to the doctor, failure to provide adequate protective clothing to workers, the faulty ventilation system, and failure to provide an emergency shower and eye wash station. OSHA inspected again in February 2012 and found a further 14 violations related to hexavalent chromium, all classified as serious. Despite these actions and fines by OSHA, Tenneco appears to have done little if anything to remedy the situation or to provide a safe working environment for its employees, who had little choice but to resort to the courts for action and compensation.
Atlanta Premises Liability Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured because of unsafe premises, contact the personal injury lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter to find out how to proceed with your case. These types of cases are often complicated and require expert evidence, so it is important to have an experienced attorney on your side. Call us at 404-814-8948, or fill out our confidential online case evaluation form for a free consultation.
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