TAMPA — Arkema Inc., a chemical manufacturer
with more than two dozen facilities in the United States, is accusing
a Plant City corporation of breaching an agreement contact.
Arkema filed a complaint earlier this year in the Tampa Division
of the Middle District of Florida against Bulk Resources Inc,
according to a previous report
by the Florida Record. The company alleged that the equipment
company broke a transloading agreement and other counts of
According to court documents, the plaintiff alleged that in 2010
the company entered in a transloading agreement with the defendant.
Bulk Resources was to safely transfer toxic materials from rail cars
into tank trucks for delivery to the plaintiff’s customers at a
Bulk Resources facility in New Orleans. However, the Occupational
Safety and Health Administration issued a citation to the plaintiffs
in the wake of injuries suffered by two employees and the death of a
third of defendant affiliate Dedicated TCS LLC.
“Employees injured during the performance of their job must
often seek compensation through workers’ compensation insurance
rather than instituting a private lawsuit regarding the workplace
injury,” Benjamin Briggs, attorney at Trent Cotney, P.A., told the
Florida Record. “However, as with most areas of law, there
are exceptions. I can only speculate as to the theor(ies) and
claim(s) on which the plaintiffs base their action against Arkema
Inc. However, there are circumstances under which employees may sue a
third party for injuries suffered at work.”
Arkema blamed Bulk Resources for the tragedy because they
allegedly failed to ensure training to all employees that were
managing the dangerous chemicals and materials. They also failed to
defend the plaintiff against legal complaints, did not procure
insurance protecting the plaintiff, and failed to get consent from
plaintiff to assign duties to a third party.
“As an initial matter, with relatively limited exceptions,
Florida employers must obtain workers’ compensation insurance for
their employees to cover workplace injuries,” Briggs said. “There
are exceptions as to what injuries must be compensated through
workers’ compensation insurance, but that does not relate to the
employer’s responsibility to obtain and maintain workers’
compensation insurance. So, whoever constitutes the injured workers’
employer was likely required to maintain workers’ compensation
Briggs explained that since the claim refers to “insurance
protection,” though, it may go beyond or be in addition to any
basic workers’ compensation insurance policy. In Arkema Inc.’s
lawsuit, the company claimed that Bulk Resources was responsible for
obtaining insurance. If that is true, it would be included in the
transloading agreement. The approval of assigned duties would also be
outlined in the agreement, Briggs said.
Companies often get into situations like this when a third party
“It is not uncommon for an initial lawsuit to result in a
separate, but related, action to determine what party is responsible
for the damages alleged in the initial, underlying lawsuit,” Briggs
said. “Extensive litigation can revolve around insurance coverage
or a party’s contractual obligations to defend or indemnify another
The plaintiff has requested a trial by jury.
Trent Cotney, P.A., has five offices in Florida, including one in
Tampa, according to the firm's website.