BP Settles Last Refinery Explosion Lawsuit

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BP Settles Last Refinery Explosion Lawsuit

GALVESTON, Texas -- The civil lawsuit filed by Eva Rowe against BP for the refinery explosion that killed both of her parents was settled last week, just before jury selection was slated to begin. Rowe's case was the last of several lawsuits on the deadly explosion that was settled out of court. Rowe was awarded an undisclosed amount, The Associated Press reported.

As part of the agreement, BP must continue to release information related to the case and donate millions of dollars to schools and facilities, including those that treated victims of the blast in 2005. Donations could top $38 million, including $1 million for the school system where Rowe's mother, Linda, was a teacher's aide. In addition, $12.5 million will go to the burn unit at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, where 23 victims were treated, the AP reported.

"I'm very satisfied with the outcome to be able to help so many people in the community and make a difference for long-term things. I didn't want my parents to be forgotten. I know they won't," said 22-year-old Rowe.

Rowe previously vowed to take BP to court to shed light on the faulty safety precautions at the company's refinery. The March 2005 explosion at the Texas City refinery killed 15 people and injured 170 others. She also sued former plant manager Don Parus and J.E. Merit Constructors Inc., the firm that employed her parents. Because of the settlement, both lawsuits were dismissed, the AP reported.

Brent Coon, Rowe's attorney, said that the settlement allows Rowe to carry on her new life goal: improving the safety within the petrochemicals industry. In January, Rowe and Coon plan to support state legislation that focuses on the elimination of outdated equipment at refineries, like those that contributed to the explosion.

BP has committed more than $1 billion to upgrade and maintain the facility over the next five years. To date, the refinery has made many safety improvements, including improved training programs and the removal of 200 temporary structures, the company stated.

"We are happy to have been able to resolve this and spare Ms. Rowe the task of bringing this case to trial," BP spokesman Ronnie Chappell told the AP.