Defendants include Olin Corp., Dow Chemical
PLAQUEMINE, La. – An Iberville Parish resident who was hospitalized with severe chemical exposure reactions has filed the first injury lawsuit relating to a chlorine gas leak on April 18, 2022. The lawsuit is against the owners and operators of the Olin Chlor Alkali plant at the Dow Chemical facility in Plaquemine, located 15 miles south of downtown Baton Rouge.
The lawsuit, filed today in the 18th District Court in Iberville Parish, alleges that Brandi Spriggs was injured when a compressor at the facility caught fire, releasing dangerous levels of toxic chlorine gas across nearby neighborhoods. Local officials later issued shelter-in-place orders to residents after the leak was reported, but Ms. Spriggs had already been exposed, according to the lawsuit.
The U.S. Center for Disease Control lists chlorine as “severely irritating on contact with moist tissues such as the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and upper respiratory tract. At high exposure levels, irritation of the upper respiratory tract and accumulation of fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema) contribute to a sensation of choking.”
In addition to Ms. Spriggs, more than 35 other nearby residents were reportedly hospitalized due to the leak.
“Storing toxic chemicals requires abiding by extensive safety and security standards that the owners of this facility were not following,” says Charles Cicero, an attorney for Ms. Spriggs in the New Orleans office of the Potts Law Firm. “Not only does it appear that basic safety protocols were not followed, but there was also a significant and unacceptable delay in reporting the fire and chemical leak to law enforcement, leading to an even greater number of residents being exposed.”
The April 18th leak is said to be the longest and largest chemical release at this facility. Since 2015, the plant has experienced five other chlorine leaks.
The lawsuit seeks damages on behalf of Ms. Spriggs, as well as a temporary restraining order to preserve all company documents, video and other materials related to the leak. The Potts Law Firm already represents more than 100 Plaquemine residents injured due to chemical exposure from the incident.