The Police NewsFort Bend County, TX
Sugar Land company slammed with massive $222 Million verdict for burning man alive
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 death.
The jury found Jesse Henson had zero responsibility for the tragic events; they held Westar Energy 10 percent responsible and TEAM 90 percent
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."