May 28, 2008
By BRAD HEM
Several plaintiffs suing BP for injuries they say resulted from the 2005 Texas City refinery explosion didn't go to a doctor for 18 months after the blast and then only did so at the urging of their lawyers, attorneys for BP told jurors today.
BP attorney Otway Denny introduced the oil giant's case by saying the company accepted responsibility for the blast and always has. The disaster that killed 15 and injured scores more could have been avoided if workers had followed procedures, he said.
BP lawyers Kenneth Tekell and Ronnie Krist noted patterns that some of plaintiffs were not diagnosed or did not complain of any physical or psychological problems until they visited doctors recommended by their lawyers.
They also pointed out that several of the plaintiffs have seen their salaries increase since the explosion, which, they said, calls into question whether their earning potential has suffered because of their alleged injuries.
"The plaintiffs did a very good job of telling us how the accident happened," Krist said, referring to the other side's opening statements Tuesday. "Let's talk about whether any of your clients are hurt."
The trial is expected to continue this afternoon, with plaintiffs attorney Brent Coon calling his first witness.