Gross Amount: $7,100,000
Attorney’s fees: $2,840,000
Litigation expenses: $353,935.19
Net Amount: $3,906,064.81
Impaired Pulling Unit Operator Releases Gas While Pump Truck Engine Operating
The oil company which owned the lease was contracting completion work to a pulling unit company that was half-owned by the oil company’s principal and half-owned by a third party. The oil patch was booming and completions were 60 days behind schedule. In order to bring the wells into production while oil prices were at a record high, the pulling unit company had resorted to hiring the least qualified and most dangerous employees.Almost the entire pulling unit crew had criminal convictions. The pulling unit operator had multiple convictions involving serious drugs, including cocaine. In spite of having his driver’s license suspended, he was employed to drive the company crew truck and even the pulling unit during rig moves. When our attorney asked a co-owner why the company employed so many persons with criminal convictions, he stated: “that’s our hiring pool.”
Evidence revealed that our client, a pump truck driver, was on location performing his work with his truck engine running. The pulling unit crew arrived late and the pulling unit operator immediately “kicked open” the bleed-off line to release overnight wellhead pressure. The well gas worked its way into our client’s pump truck and an explosion ensued. After many weeks of struggling to survive in the burn unit, our client succumbed to his injuries and passed away.
When asked to describe company safety policies as implemented, a former Safety Department employee stated that the company, in effect, abused the employees and upon the occurrence of an incident, the company always blamed its employees.
The case settled within 24 hours prior to the commencement of an oil company’s key executive’s deposition.
A Trust, cash and structured settlements were utilized to provide security to the decedent’s minor children. The case originated because the law firm had represented various family members in previous cases, including an earlier explosion-death case.
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