BEAUMONT - The Ferguson Law Firm has filed a class action suit and
temporary restraining order in response to the TPC plant explosion that
rocked Jefferson County during the early morning hours of Nov. 27.
A second explosion rocked the area later that afternoon. Residents
have evacuated the area while Orange County executed a “shelter in
place” order. Plumes of dark, black smoke continue to flow from the TPC
plant in Port Neches – formerly the Neches Butane plant.
Chip Ferguson, managing partner of Beaumont’s The Ferguson Law
Firm, said, “We were taking phone calls before the sun came up from
friends who had been affected by the explosion. These people were
asleep, had their windows blown in, and looked outside to see the sky
engulfed in flames. Hot metal was raining down, they were scared, and
many loaded up their family to escape the danger. They have young
children and one can only imagine the terror they felt.”
The law firm’s filings are designed to preserve evidence and protect the citizens affected, a press release states.
First, the firm has obtained a Temporary Restraining Order to preserve the explosion site.
“The people deserve answers and the answers lie in the scorched
rubble inside the TPC plant,” Ferguson said. “We need those answers and
the citizens affected deserve those answers. That’s why we did this
immediately – to protect them.”
Second, the firm filed a class action lawsuit.
“The temporary restraining order is time-limited,” Ferguson said.
“The class action provides ongoing protection for the entire community.
Besides the imploded homes and structures, the explosion released a
number of dangerous chemicals, including butadiene and raffinate and we
are requesting medical care and monitoring for all affected citizens.”
TPC has already acknowledged public responsibility for the damage to the area’s homes.
“Our real concern – and the reason for our filing – is the health
and well-being of the people caught up in this tragedy,” Ferguson said.
“That’s the serious business here and that is what sets us apart in what
we are doing. We know other law firms are working on the property
damage only – that’s the easy party. We’re doing it all with our primary
focus on the health of the men, women and children. There is no greater
risk than that.”
According to the EPA, butadiene can have both immediate and long-term effects.
“Immediately, people can have irritation or damage to their eyes,
lungs and respiratory system,” Ferguson said. “The long-term effects are
more damaging. It includes various heart diseases, cancers and blood
The EPA states that butadiene exposure can result in an increase in
cardiovascular diseases, such as rheumatic and arteriosclerotic heart
diseases, while other human studies have reported effects on the blood.
This includes a leukemias and other respiratory, bladder and
stomach cancers. Other studies have linked reproductive damage such as
fetal skeletal abnormalities and decreased fetal weight, and ovarian and
“This is a very dangerous chemical,” Ferguson said. “It has
shrouded the entire area and put so many of our friends and family at a
serious health risk. Houses can be rebuilt – one’s health cannot. That
is what we are most concerned about.”
The press release states that the firm’s commitment to this effort
is demonstrated by four of the law firm’s partners (Mr. Ferguson, Jane
Leger, Mark Sparks and Cody Dishon) signing off on the filings.
“Since before sun-up, we have had every lawyer in our offices
working on this. It is the reason for our existence,” Ferguson said.
The Ferguson Law Firm has a long tradition of representing victims
of industrial explosions. Their attorneys have represented victims of
such incidents across the country including a $66 million award from one
plant explosion and a $38 million settlement in another. Ferguson Law
partner Jane Leger obtained Texas’ top verdict in a work place safety
case in 2018.
“This is what we do,” Ferguson added. “And we do it well. We will do the same here.”