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John Eddie Williams Gives Senate Testimony

In 2005, a BP plant located in Texas exploded which resulted in the deaths of 15 people as well as hundreds of injuries. Yesterday, the families of these victims, as well as many injured victims, gathered with victims of other industrial accidents on Texas’ Capitol Hill to attend hearings conducted by the Texas State Senate and House committees.

The hearings are currently being conducted to determine the course of action for the legislature when it attempts to clarify the liability of a company that has a workers compensation plan. The issue came up following a decision by the Texas Supreme Court which held that an injured contract worker can’t sue the worksite company for damages because he was already covered by the company’s workers compensation policy.

Critics of the decision say that the ruling wrongly expanded liability protection for businesses under the workers compensation laws. Many individuals felt that if no one is held accountable then no one is safe. Counted among the victims testifying before the committees was Williams Hart‘s own John Eddie Williams.

Mr. Williams was on the hill yesterday urging lawmakers during the hearings to clarify their position on the workers compensation law. He would like to see the legislators expand the protection of injured workers as well as workers everywhere. In addition, he expressed the conviction that the legislature, if it does not protect workers, will, in effect, protect unsafe companies. He expressly was requesting that the legislature make a decision clarifying the intent of the workers compensation law and whether or not it releases companies from being liable in the event of an injury.

Mr. Williams has long been a defender of workers injured in refinery accidents along the Texas Gulf Coast.

While the House was conducting their hearings in one chamber of the Capitol, the Senate was also hearing testimony from business representatives and trail lawyers concerning lawsuit limit laws and how they are actually working. The legislature will reconvene in the Spring of 2009.

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