City of West Files Lawsuit Against Plant, Suppliers - KXXV Central Texas News Now

City of West Files Lawsuit Against Plant, Suppliers


The City of West filed a lawsuit Friday against the owner of the West Fertilizer Company, Adair Grain, Inc. and its suppliers who sold that plant tons of hazardous ammonium nitrate.

The nine page lawsuit claims negligence on the part of the fertilizer plant, which had a million dollars of liability insurance.

But it also blames three different arms of the corporation that sold the ammonium nitrate, which could open the door to more damage compensation.

The lawsuit claims CF Industries sold the now destroyed West Fertilizer Plant 100 tons of ammonium nitrate in both March and April.  Thirty tons from that second shipment was stockpiled in wooden crates in a fertilizer mixing building the night of the blast.

The lawsuit claims "a substantial portion of the thirty tons of ammonium nitrate stockpiled in the fertilizer mixing building was heated to the point of detonation".

The suit alleges CF Industries was negligent in three areas:  first, it knew the chemicals were dangerous, but "failed or refused to properly inspect the fertilizer mixing facility to provide recommendations for safe storage".

It also accuses CF Industries of failing to provide - as required by law - an accurate and thorough material safety data sheet (MSDS) with shipments to West, and did not correct that omission until a week after the explosion.

Finally, the suit claims the supplier was negligent in failing and/or refusing to include an additive/coating that would have prevented the ammonium nitrate from detonating or exploding. 

The City of West also claims the fertilizer company was negligent in how it stored and/or maintained the ammonium nitrate in question, and that was a proximate cause of the explosion, too.

The city states its damages exceed $1 Million dollars, but it wants a jury to determine how much damages to award, plus legal fees.

The City of West is represented in the lawsuit by attorneys Stephen E. Harrison, II of Waco and Zona Jones of Beaumont.

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