September 18, 2007 | Mark Paradies

BP Settles First Texas City Explosion Trial Before Going to the Jury

The District Judge Susan Criss informed jurors that their services would no longer be needed. The case they were hearing was settled.

This is the first BP Texas City Refinery explosion case to make it to testimony in front of a jury. And after days of testimony, little that hadn’t previously been discussed in the CSB report was presented at this trial.

The next trials are scheduled for October 22 and November 5. However, BP is working hard to settle all outstanding cases. The cases involving deaths were all settled last year. Four hundred unrelated cases were settled while this trial progressed. The remaining 1200 cases that have not been settled involve injuries and property damage.

According to an article in the Houston Chronicle, there is still an ongoing criminal investigation headed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Houston. That investigation began in early 2006 and so far, no charges against the company or executives have been announced.

The plaintiffs in this trial were Scott Kilbert, 48; Rolando Bocardo, 41; Nara Wilson, 44; and David Wilson, 44. All were contractors at the refinery on the day of the accident.

The article said that Kilbert and Bocardo were glad the trial was over because they found it difficult to re-live the tragedy through the testimony.

On the day of the accident, Kilbert was on his way to a 1:30 p.m. meeting in one of the trailers that the explosion destroyed. He was running late and and had not reached the trailer when the explosion occurred. He said:

“I just watched it disappear.”

Asked what he would like to say to BP, Kilbert replied, “You can’t put it in the paper.”

The article says that the Wilsons were disappointed they didn’t get to testify. The article quotes Nara Wilson as saying:

“I didn’t have the chance to speak.”

And David Wilson said:

“I’m disappointed that I didn’t get to look them in the eye and tell them off.”

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