Incident at acetic acid plant in La Porte, US, killed two workers in July

The families of two contractors who died following an incident at a  LyondellBasell plant in La Porte, US, in July have filed lawsuits alleging gross negligence and wrongful death claims against LyondellBasell and its subsidiaries. 

More than 45 tonnes of a mixture of chemicals – including acetic acid, methyl iodide and hydrogen iodide – leaked from LyondellBasell’s acetyls plant, killing two contractors and hospitalising at least 30 more. 

LyondellBasell became aware of a leak on 27 July and sought advice from a specialist repair firm, according to lawyers from Abraham Watkins. They allege that these experts recommended LyondellBasell repair the leak, but the company chose instead to call other contractors. The incident happened without warning later that evening. 

The father of deceased worker Shawn Andrew Kuhleman is seeking a minimum of $1 million (£730,000) in damages. Kuhleman was overcome by the toxic chemicals and died at the La Porte complex. Abraham Watkins is also representing the family of Dustin Day, who filed a separate lawsuit in August. 

LyondellBasell started preparing to restart its acetic acid unit at the end of September.