Sunoco wants worker's injury claim dismissed

By Kelly Holleran | Jun 29, 2009

HUNTINGTON – Sunoco Chemicals is asking the federal court to dismiss a complaint filed against it, in which an employee of the company claims he was injured while working.

Sunoco removed to federal court the complaint Christopher and Sharon Cole filed April 21 in Wayne Circuit Court against it.

The Coles say Christopher Cole worked as a relief operator at Sunoco's Neal plant.

While Christopher Cole was working on Feb. 19, 2008, he was injured, although the complaint does not specify how his injury occurred or what was injured.

The complaint does say that Christopher Cole's injury was caused by Sunoco's requirement of him to work in an unsafe working condition and around improper equipment, which the company had prior knowledge of and which was a violation of state or federal safety statute.

"Notwithstanding the facts set forth in subparagraphs (i) through (iii), inclusive of this paragraph, Sunoco Chemicals, Inc. f/k/a Aristech Chemical Corporation nevertheless intentionally thereafter exposed CHRISTOPHER COLE to the specific unsafe working condition," the complaint says.

Because of his exposure to the unsafe working condition, Christopher Cole says he suffered permanent injuries, pain, loss of enjoyment of life, annoyance, inconvenience, embarrassment and humiliation. He also incurred medical expenses, which are likely to continue in the future, according to the complaint.

In addition, Sharon Cole says she suffered the loss of her husband's consortium, services, society and companionship.

However, Sunoco denies all the Coles' allegations against it. Instead, it says Christopher Cole assumed the risk of his injuries. It also contends Christopher Cole's own negligence caused his injuries.

"Defendant did not deliberately, intentionally, consciously, purposefully, knowingly and with substantially (sic) certainty, cause injury to Plaintiff Christopher Cole," the complaint says.

Sunoco is asking the court to award judgment in its favor, to dismiss the complaint and to award it costs and other relief the court deems just.

In their complaint, the Coles are seeking compensatory damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, costs and other relief the court deems just.

Because the Coles are seeking more than $75,000, Sunoco removed the case to federal court.

Kenneth P. Hicks and J. Ryan Stewart of Huntington will be representing the Coles.

David J. Millstone of Squire, Sanders and Dempsey in Cleveland will be representing Sunoco. W. Michael Hanna of Squire, Sanders and Dempsey in Cleveland and Meghan E. Hill of Squire, Sanders and Dempsey in Columbus will serve of counsel to Sunoco.

U.S. District Court case number: 3:09-CV-569

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