Harris County Jury Awards Family $10.5M Against BASF In Fatal Accident
Houston, Texas – On Friday November 4, 2022, a Harris County jury awarded $10.5M to Plaintiffs Melissa Garcia, individually and as representative of the Estate of Oberlin Garcia, Deceased, and Amy Garcia Morales, Conrado Garcia, and Oberlin Garcia, Jr. Attorneys Alex Hilliard, Michael Richardson, and Jessi Pritchett of Hilliard Martinez Gonzales LLP, along with Scott West of the West Law Firm and Juan Reyna of Reyna Law Firm, represented the family.
This case arises from the tragic death of Oberlin Garcia, a Service Transport commercial truck driver, who sustained catastrophic injuries from a fall while making a delivery at BASF’s chemical facility in Livonia, Michigan. Mr. Garcia arrived at the facility on May 16, 2016, to deliver a load of hazardous chemicals. Upon arrival, BASF personnel instructed Mr. Garcia to climb to the top of the tanker and open the “crash box” in the parking lot area of the facility. Following BASF’s order, Mr. Garcia ascended the ladder on the side of the tanker. Once at the top, Mr. Garcia reached toward the “crash box” lid while holding onto an extension of the ladder. As he was transitioning from the ladder to the top of the tanker, Mr. Garcia’s right foot suddenly slipped, causing him to fall over ten (10) feet before crashing onto the parking lot pavement. As a result, Mr. Garcia sustained severe and catastrophic injuries which ultimately led to his tragic and untimely death.
Attorneys for the family asserted that BASF was negligent in creating an unsafe work environment that created an unreasonable risk of harm, and that BASF was negligent in failing to provide adequate safety policies and procedures. Further, based on previous similar incidents, BASF knew or should have known of the danger, attorneys alleged. The jury agreed, finding BASF 100% at fault for Mr. Garcia’s tragic accident.
Attorney Hilliard stated, “This accident could have been prevented. BASF was aware of similar accidents occurring at this facility but continued to allow dangerous conditions to exist. They failed to take the necessary steps to protect Mr. Garcia, and as a result, the family lost a beloved father and husband.”
The case is Melissa Garcia, Individually and as Representative of the Estate of Oberlin Garcia, Deceased, and Amy Garcia Morales and Conrado Garcia, Oberlin Garcia Jr., Individually v. BASF Corporation, Cause No. 201823951, in the 189th Judicial District, Harris County, Texas.