Deepwater Horizon Oil Drilling Rig Explosion Lawsuits Filed by Two Families

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By: Staff Writers | Published: April 23rd, 2010

Following an explosion Tuesday night on the British Pretroleum (BP) oil drilling rig known as Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico, at least two families have filed lawsuits against BP and the rig’s builders alleging negligence caused the disaster.

Eleven of the 126 crewmembers of the Deepwater Horizon were still missing Friday morning, after the BP drilling platform exploded and caught fire for reasons that are still unknown. The platform burned until Thursday morning, when it collapsed and the massive oil rig plunged into the waters of the Gulf.

There were 115 people on the rig who have been confirmed to have escaped by life boat. At least seventeen of the rescued workers were injured, with three in critical condition. The wounded were flown by air ambulances to hospitals in New Orleans, Louisiana and Mobile, Alabama.

On Thursday, the family of missing worker Shane Roshto filed a lawsuit over the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion against BP and Transocean Ltd. in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District Court of Louisiana. The lawsuit accuses the companies of negligence and failing to meet federal regulations. Another Deepwater Horizon lawsuit was also filed against the companies on behalf of worker Karl Kelppinger Jr. in state court in Harris County.

Officials have indicated that the explosion and sinking oil rig may unleash a catastrophic oil spill in the already environmentally fragile Gulf of Mexico. Coast Guard officials on the scene say it does not appear that such a spill has occurred yet, but they are monitoring the drill’s wellhead and will continue to do so. The Coast Guard warns that if the wellhead does rupture, it could release up to 8,000 barrels of crude oil a day.

The Coast Guard has detected a sheen of oil on the water across a five mile area, but has determined that the oil was blown out by the explosion.

The Deepwater Horizon platform was constructed and owned by Transocean Ltd., and was under lease to BP. The rig was 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana performing exploratory drilling. Officials from Transocean said that workers who escaped the burning platform feared that the 11 missing workers were too close to the initial blast, and may not have escaped.

The potentially deadly explosion comes a few months after the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fined BP $77.4 million for safety problems at its Texas oil refinery. A blast in 2005 at the refinery killed 15 people and injured 170 others. OSHA has issued 270 safety notifications in regards to problems at the BP refinery, noting that there were 439 instances of “willful and egregious” safety violations at the facility.

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There Are 4 Comments So Far • (Add Your Comments)

  1. Wow – they just called off the search and already lawsuits are filed. These disgusting lawyers should let the families grieve for at least a week before hounding them. No one is certain what exactly caused the explosion but they’re claiming negligence and failure to follow federal guidelines. lawyers are professional liars trolling for that BIG payday. Disgusting and selfish. Shame on you, if you know the meaning of that word.

  2. Dear Pete- It is you and your lack of understanding of reality and “biased” opinion that is revolting. First, you do not know what a “limitation of liability” is and what the effect of it on a claimant can be; you do knot know that when Transocean files it, which they will, if there is no lawsuit on file then they choose the venue; Second, there were at least 1000 lawyers actively working to “protect the interests” of BP and Transocean literally within one hour of the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon; Thirdly, filing a lawsuit has nothing to do with grieving; Do you think they are not grieving? Think again. You sir are the product of the 15 second sound bite generation that (1) does not understand the totality of things; (2) has a strong opinion just to have one; and (3) really does not want to even know why a lawsuit or where a lawsuit was filed when it was. Shame is on you sir….not the poor family whose interests are being protected.

  3. I really admire the altruism of the legal profession. There will be huge awards and as you state the families will indeed be poor because you greedy bums will be there grabbing most of it for yourselves. A great bunch you are. Shame is on you, pal.

  4. The fact that the explosion occurred, and the cut-off failed goes to negligence in testing the mechanism in the environment the cut-off was to be installed. There is a history of oil drilling explosions – why was DP caught flatfooted when the blowout occurred? Blowout go hand-in-hand with oil drilling. Why did not DP and/or the EPA count on a blow-out occurring and have in place equipment and procedures to control to damage? In addition, why was not a major oil spill scenario in place and executed immediately? How is it, the U.S. developed the atom bomb, went to the moon, has the most advanced industries and weapon systems, but does not have the capability to shut off that blow-out? Who is in command, or should be in command to take charge?

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