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For the second time since the 2008 explosion that rocked the Big Spring Refinery, a Howard County jury found owner Alon USA guilty of negligence and awarded local residents damages but failed to find gross negligence.
The jury found Alon USA negligent in the Feb. 18, 2008, accident that caused extensive damage throughout the surrounding area, and awarded actual damages — the estimated cost to repair the homes and properties damaged in the blast — in cases brought by Manuel Hernandez, Marissa Zamora Hernandez, David Higgins and Janet Higgins, the plaintiffs in the case.
The jury awarded the Hernandez couple $10,800 for damages, while the Higgins received a judgment of $55,500. However, for either couple to receive damages beyond those represented by actual repairs to their property — such as pain and suffering allegedly caused by the accident — the jury would have had to have found Alon USA guilty of gross negligence, which it did not.
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