April 24, 2013 — Reuters reports that Donald Adair, the owner of Adair Grain Inc. and West Fertilizer Company, is facing two lawsuits for the fertilizer plant explosion last week in West, Texas. According to court filings, both lawsuits were filed in McLennan County district court and accuse Adair Grain of being “negligent in the operation of its facility,” creating an unreasonably dangerous condition, which led to the fire and explosion.”
The spokesman for West Fertilizer and Adair, Daniel Keeney, issued this statement in response to the lawsuits:
“We decline to comment on any pending litigation. Our focus remains on the fact finding. We continue to do everything we can to understand what happened to ensure nothing like this ever happens again in any community. To that end, the owners and staff of West Fertilizer Co. are working closely with investigating agencies. We have encouraged all employees to assist in the fact finding to whatever degree possible.”
Andrea Jones Gutierrez, a working mother with one child who lived in the apartment building next door to the fertilizer plant, filed a lawsuit after the explosion destroyed her home and all of her possessions. She is seeking $500,000 to $1 million in damages for loss of personal property and unspecified physical and emotional injuries.
W.R. Berkley Corporation also filed a lawsuit on behalf of four subsidiary insurance companies that insure individuals, churches, businesses, a car dealership, and a bakery in West. Those companies include:
- Acadia Insurance Company
- Continental Western Insurance Company
- Union Standard Lloyds
- Union Standard Insurance Company
Although no one knows exactly how much damage has been caused by the explosion, officials raised the number of casualties to 15 deaths and 200 injuries. Crews of insurance adjustors have been deployed to survey the damage, which is necessary before homeowners can begin cleaning up and rebuilding.
A spokesman for the Insurance Council of Texas said that he believed 140 homes were damaged or destroyed, based on conversations with insurance agents and adjustors. He estimated that insured losses for the explosion could exceed $100 million.
However, until investigations are complete, it is unknown if anyone is responsible for the explosion. So far, investigators have ruled out lightning and a rail car that was carrying ammonium nitrate, which was suspected as a potential cause of the initial fire before the explosion.
Do I have a Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion Lawsuit?
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