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Judge Refuses To Reduce Fines For Burning Death

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 8:55am

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A federal judge has declined to reduce the $1 million fine and $2 million in restitution he ordered paid by a Colorado company that admitted partial responsibility for the death of a Baton Rouge plant worker.

On Tuesday, Chief U.S. District Judge Ralph E. Tyson said Chemical & Metal Industries Inc. does not have to pay the $3 million while it appeals for reversal of his decision. But the judge required the firm to post a $3 million bond pending a decision by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

Delvin Henry, 32, suffered fatal burns in 2003, after he opened a cylinder that was improperly labeled for a low-pressure refrigerant. The cylinder at the Honeywell International Inc. plant actually contained high-pressure corrosives that sprayed Henry. He died the next day. Honeywell later pleaded guilty to negligent endangerment.

Tyson fined Honeywell $8 million and ordered the firm to pay Henry's family restitution of $2 million.

Honeywell had sent the cylinder to Chemical & Metal Industries for reprocessing in 1998, but the Colorado firm rejected the cylinder and returned it to Honeywell.

Chemical & Metal Industries pleaded guilty to negligent endangerment before receiving its fine and order of restitution in March.

The Colorado firm's attorney, Michael S. Walsh, appealed that sentence to the 5th Circuit and asked Tyson to reconsider the sentence.

Chemical & Metal Industries wanted its fine reduced to $500,000 and the $2 million order of restitution rescinded.

The firm reported net income of less than $45,000 for 2010.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Corey R. Amundson told Tyson Henry suffered for 32 hours before dying. He noted that Henry left behind a wife and 3-year-old triplets.

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