BEAUMONT, Texas — A Jefferson County judge has extended an order issued a week ago to preserve evidence related to the TPC plant explosion in Port Neches just before Thanksgiving.
Judge Mitch Templeton, of the 172nd State District Court extended a temporary restraining order filed the same day as the explosion on November 27, 2019 by the Beaumont law firm, Brent Coon and Associates according to a Wednesday news release from the firm.
The order, which was originally in effect until a hearing on the matter or 14 days after, was extended indefinitely by Judge Templeton during a hearing on Tuesday.
The order was filed by the firm to “preserve the evidence while investigating the cause of the explosion," according to news release from the firm.
The order bars the TPC Group from damaging or destroying potential evidence related to the case the release said.
Several other Southeast Texas law firms also filed actions including temporary restraining orders against the plant following the explosion including the Ferguson Law Firm and the Provost Umphrey Law Firm.
“The main goals early in a case of this nature is to make sure we have court orders in place protecting this critical information,” Brent Coon was quoted as saying in the release.
The indefinite extension is designed to give lawyers time to request and examine documents and equipment related to the explosion according to the news release.
“It was important to work out an agreement preserving all potential evidence long term in the case. It will be weeks before the area is likely to be safe enough to conduct a comprehensive investigation on site with our process safety management experts, and even longer before we are able to initiate production of the thousands and thousands of relevant documents and conduct formal depositions of witnesses,” Coon said in the release.
The TPC Group has been encouraging people to call their hotline number for claims, questions and concerns.
At a press conference Mike Troy, director of health, safety and security at TPC said, “Any claims that people of the community want to report, they can do that through the number, (866) 601-5880.”
Attorneys have been advising residents to consult with legal counsel before signing any paperwork in relation to the explosion.
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From a Brent Coon and Associates news release…
Judge Mitch Templeton, Judge for the 172nd State District Court of Jefferson County, Texas, signed orders Tuesday extending the temporary restraining orders he initially entered the date of the TPC explosions in Port Neches last Wednesday.
This extension will give lawyers representing residents in the area impacted time to request and examine equipment and documents and prohibits TPC from damaging or destroying any potential evidence related to the case. The motions were requested by the law firm of Brent Coon and Associates. BCA had filed the original petition and request for the temporary restraining order (TRO) last Wednesday. This new motion extends the orders indefinitely.
The terms and conditions of the new orders were worked out with the agreement of the lawyers from TPC in Houston and Brent Coon, founder of the national law firm of Brent Coon and Associates, a firm long specializing in cases of this nature with several offices around the country.
“It was important to work out an agreement preserving all potential evidence long term in the case. It will be weeks before the area is likely to be safe enough to conduct a comprehensive investigation on site with our process safety management experts, and even longer before we are able to initiate production of the thousands and thousands of relevant documents and conduct formal depositions of witnesses. The main goals early in a case of this nature is to make sure we have court orders in place protecting this critical information. Today was another important step in that process” said Brent Coon.
“In the interim, we are diligently moving forward on other less formal investigations through interviews with other witnesses, people familiar with the facility and initial contacts with the various state and federal investigative agencies, most of which we have worked with numerous times in the past” stated Mr. Coon. “We will continue to keep the public in general and or thousands of clients informed of developments in a very timely manner. This disaster has a profound impact on the entire region and where we go with this incident will set the tone for the future of safety in this business sector which predominates our local markets. Hopefully our end work leaves a lasting