Madison - St. Clair Record

Monday, October 14, 2019

ConocoPhillips denies liability in man’s alleged chemical exposure

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Aug 10, 2015


ConocoPhillips denies liability in a man’s lawsuit claiming he was injured after being exposed to chemicals while drilling holes on separation tanks.

Ryan Woods filed his May 22 lawsuit against ConocoPhillips Co., claiming he was on the defendant’s property while working for Graver Tank Co. on Feb. 2.

According to the lawsuit, Woods was “drilling holes for lifting lugs on separation tanks, when, while drilling through a lap joint, liquid began coming from the tank, exposing [Woods] to chemicals and causing severe injuries.”

The plaintiff accuses the defendant of failing to maintain its premises in a safe condition; inspect the tank for hazardous substances before allowing Woods to drill into it, provide a safe place for him to work on the tanks, inspect the tanks before Woods began his work and warn the plaintiff of an unsafe condition. ConocoPhillips is also accused of allowing the tanks to become “unsafe, defective and/or dangerous,” the suit states.

ConocoPhillips denied the allegations in its July 29 answer to the complaint. In its affirmative defenses, the defendant claims the plaintiff contributed to his own alleged injuries by “failing to conduct himself in a reasonably prudent and safe manner while conducting the activities of his employment.”

The defendant also accuses Woods of failing to mitigate damages by returning to work or seeking other employment “as soon as reasonably necessary.”

Woods seeks damages in excess of $50,000, plus costs. He is represented by Thomas C. Rich, Kristina D. Cooksey and Michele M. Rich in Fairview Heights.

Barry S. Noeltner and Gregory C. Flatt of Heyl Royster Voelker & Allen in Edwardsville represents the defendant.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 15-L-659

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