A federal jury slammed BP with more than $100 million in damages to 10 workers who claimed they were injured by a toxic substance released at the company’s Texas City refinery in 2007.
The Dec. 18 award came on the heels of a record $87 million OSHA fine against BP for failing to correct safety hazards at the plant (see “OSHA’s Offensive“). The refinery was the site of a 2005 explosion that killed 15 people and injured 170.
The lawsuit alleged that in April 2007, more than 100 contract workers were exposed to a toxic substance at the plant. They suffered dizziness and sore throats, but did not claim long-term lung damage. They claimed the company failed to maintain a safe workplace, citing repeated safety violations at the plant.
The jury for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas awarded each of the 10 plaintiffs $10 million in punitive damages. The group was awarded a total of about $326,000 in compensatory damages. The $100 million punitive damages award amounted to approximately one month’s profits from that particular plant, according to The Wall Street Journal.
BP, which had claimed no toxic substance had been released at the refinery on the date in question, issued a statement saying it was “shocked and outraged” by the verdict and will appeal.