Southeast Texans still seeking relief from the damages of the TPC explosion and fire last year could get a helping hand from area political leaders, and Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick tells 1813News he has already made such a request.
Branick has requested that the Texas Supreme Court leave the issue – in a local court.
TPC has petitioned the SCOT to have cases moved into multi-district litigation (MDL) as many of you victims know already. But attorney Brent Coon believes its an unfair inconvenience for Southeast Texans. Coon told 1813News Friday (March 6) he believes The Texas Supreme Court could be persuaded by amicus briefs filed by local political leaders, and could decide that Texans would be better served if the issue is heard in Jefferson County.
Branick told us Friday he has made it known that the cases should stay here. Branick says he used an intermediary, who is a friend of the Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court, to convey that message. He says he passed along his views very clearly but has not filed an amicus brief specifically.
Hearing them elsewhere would of course force litigants to travel considerable distances to take part in hearings.
The material witnesses all live in Southeast Texas. But it could still take several months for the process to move forward. Coon says its generally a delaying tactic on the part of TPC – a means of preventing litigants from pursuing the discovery process. He argues its counterproductive to closure and deprives litigants of unfair representation.
Will the cases be consolidated by the high court? Will the high court believe it needs to engage on the procedural issues or allow arguments to be heard in SETX? These are crucial questions.
Tuesday night (March 10,2020) a hearing will be held at 5:30 at the KC Hall in Port Neches. There, related issues will be discussed and its possible that public pressure could move leaders to file amicus briefs.
Brent Coon & Associates will also give a brief overview of the history of the industry accidents, discuss generally what happens, and discuss side issues like the Texas Attorney General lawsuit affecting TPC.
Is there a legitimate reason that the local judiciary could not hear the cases? You be the judge, but Judge Branick has already acted and it appears other local leaders could join in leading the way.
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