Thursday, November 16, 2006

Daughter Of Two BP Victims Settles Lawsuit

Eva Rowe, whose mother and father were killed in the March 23, 2005 BP Texas City explosion along with 13 other workers has reached a settlement with BP last week. Rowe's was the only case involving a fatality that had not been settled. She had said that she was suing the company to find out the truth behind why her parents are dead. Although all the terms of the total settlement was not released, some details are known:
Also as part of the settlement, all claims against contractor J.E. Merit Constructors., which employed Rowe's parents, and Texas City plant manager Don Parus were dismissed.

In memory of James and Linda Rowe, $1 million will go to the cancer center at St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, a favorite charity of the Rowes, and to Hornbeck High School in Louisiana, where Linda Rowe had worked as a special education teacher's aide before moving to Texas.

BP also will make another $30 million in donations on behalf of the Rowes and the other 13 people who died in the explosion.

The biggest payments will be $12.5 million each to the burn unit at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, which treated 23 people injured in the first six hours after the Texas City blast, and to the Texas A&M University Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Center, which works to prevent workplace injuries in the petrochemical industry.

The College of the Mainland in Texas City will receive $5 million for safety and process technology training for refinery and chemical plant workers.
But most important for Rowe was BP's promise to make potentially damaging records public.
Though every other wrongful death case against BP was settled in the past 18 months, Rowe had gone ahead because she wanted to hold the company responsible for the deaths of her parents, she has said.

She also said she wanted potentially damaging documents about BP safety practices to come to light during the trial.

Coon said, as a term of the settlement, those records will be made public. The process for releasing them is still being worked out, he said, but attorneys from his firm and BP will negotiate their disclosure.

The lessons learned from those records will set new industry standards and prevent future accidents, Coon said.

Rowe's attorney said she may have made peace with BP, but that doesn't mean she has forgiven them.

"I'll probably never say BP is a good company," she said.
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