June 20, 2008
By BRAD HEM
GALVESTON — A civil trial arising from the 2005 BP Texas City refinery explosion finished its fourth week Friday, and lawyers indicated it may just be at the halfway point.
Lawyers for plaintiffs who allege they were injured in the blast that killed 15 workers said plaintiff testimony will continue until about July 4, and BP lawyers estimated they'll take two weeks after that to present the defense case.
The pace of the trial has slowed, with plaintiffs and their doctors presenting detailed testimony about their injuries and treatments.
Ten people are suing for physical and emotional suffering they claim to have endured in the explosion. BP is questioning the extent of their injuries and the amount of their damage claims, including $950 million in punitive damages.
The company has settled almost all of the 4,000 claims resulting from the blast, including all lawsuits involving the 15 fatalities. Lawyers for both sides continue to meet privately to negotiate the 79 outstanding claims.