On November 3, 2005 when a conveyor at a Beaumont, Texas ExxonMobil polyethylene plant began to spill polyethylene pellets onto the floor, workers devised modifications to the machine in order to correct the problem. However, Vickie Hall, an employee of J.E. Merritt working as an independent contractor, had parts of her fingers sliced off when she was using the altered equipment within hours of the modification.
Hall filed suit against the oil company in June of 2006, alleging that her hand was caught in an “unsafe machine.”
Jurors agreed that both sides were equally responsible for the incident. They awarded Hall $367,000 in lost wages, $300,000 in physical pain and impairment, $150,000 for disfigurement, $150,000 in mental anguish, and $70,000 in medical expenses. The damages she received totaled $1,037,000.