Company sued over worker’s death

By Brian Knox | Published Wednesday, September 11, 2013

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The family of a Chico man killed in an explosion at Bridgeport Tank Trucks in July is suing the company, according to documents filed last month.

Jose Jesus Landeros, 50, was working as a mechanic at Bridgeport Tank Trucks when he died July 24. The Dallas County Medical Examiners Office ruled the death accidental.

The wrongful death lawsuit filed in 271st District Court by Landeros’ widow, Patricia Landeros, claims Mr. Landeros was killed when a tank truck he was working on exploded.

“Bridgeport Tank Trucks, knowing of the safety risks associated with removing and changing the valves, did not implement and/or enforce safety rules and precautions to prevent this type of incident from occurring,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit does not specify the monetary amount being sought. However, the suit claims that the limit placed on exemplary damages should not apply in this case.

“By not allowing a greater sliding scale of damages against the most egregious wrongdoers, the statute (limiting damages) invites the most dangerous defendants to do business in this state and place Texas workers and consumers at great risk,” the lawsuit states.

The suit acknowledges that the court would have to change existing law to change the limitations on exemplary damages. Exemplary damages are those awarded to a plaintiff as a way to punish the defendant for alleged bad actions and to set a public example to keep others from engaging in similar conduct.

District Judge John Fostel signed a temporary restraining order prohibiting Bridgeport Tank Trucks from altering any of the potential evidence in the case until representatives of the plaintiffs had a chance to inspect the materials. Among the items requested for inspection listed in the lawsuit are the truck, cutting torch, grinder, protective gear, safety equipment and various documentation regarding the recent contents of the truck prior to the explosion.

Bridgeport Tank Trucks filed a response denying the allegations.

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