FORT BEND - A Texas jury has issued a $222 million verdict against
Team Industrial Services (TEAM) for the death of Jesse Henson at the
Jeffrey Energy Center power plant in Kansas, a press release states.
The lawsuit, brought by Henson’s widow, alleged that TEAM
improperly repaired a safety valve that malfunctioned. The malfunction
led to Henson being burned and boiled alive by superheated steam.
On June 3, 2018, the faulty relief valve that TEAM inspected and
modified failed to do its job, the release states. Henson and another
worker were sent to the 14th floor of the Jeffery Energy Center power
plant to investigate the cause of a steam release. Upon reaching the
14th floor, flesh-boiling, superheated steam engulfed Henson. He died
from the injuries.
During the trial, the evidence showed that TEAM identified the
release valve as faulty and suspected that it would fail. TEAM’s lawyers
insisted the Westar, the owner of the Jeffrey Energy Center was
responsible for the valve’s failures, and they blamed Henson for his own
The jury found Jesse Henson had zero responsibility for the tragic
events; they held Westar Energy 10 percent responsible and TEAM 90
In a joint statement, attorneys for Henson’s widow, Jason Itkin and
S. Scott West said, “For three years team has denied responsibility for
the horrific death of Jesse Henson. Today the jury’s verdict was loud
and clear that human life matters, and that big companies cannot avoid
responsibility for deadly workplace disasters.”
TEAM faces another trial currently scheduled in July for a Jan. 5,
2019 explosion the injured several workers. The Houston case involves
TEAM’s failure to install and monitor a safety plug during pipeline
maintenance. Lawyers say these cases show that TEAM demonstrates a
pattern of neglect that leads to the serious injury and death of workers
in the energy sector.
TEAM's EVP and chief legal officer, Andre Bouchard, issued the
following statement: "We are deeply sympathetic to the terrible losses
suffered by the families in this tragic accident. We continue to
express our sincere condolences to the families of Mr. Henson and Mr.
Burchett. We believe there should be accountability for those who
contributed to the deaths of these two good men; however, knowing all of
the facts of the case, we do not believe that responsibility lies with
us. While we respect the jury, we will appeal this verdict and
anticipate a favorable outcome in that process."