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BP Denied Summary Judgment In Oil Spill Negligence Case

Maritime and Offshore Accidents

Kopfler & Hermann represents a man who was struck on the head and knocked to the deck of a cleanup barge during the height of the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.  The negligence of BP is alleged as a key cause of this maritime and offshore accident resulting from the BP Oil Spill and negligence.   A converted shrimp trawler chartered by BP under the Vessels of Opportunity (VOO) program had come into the cleanup barge in the Houma Navigational Canal for decontamination. Under the written charter terms, which were drafted by BP, the oil giant was responsible for providing a safe berthing and mooring place to offload the “boom” and absorbent pads from the trawler.

On the date of the accident, the cleanup barge was in the open channel and the winds and waves were too high for offloading the trawler safely. The offloading was nonetheless ordered, and BP thus failed to provide a safe berthing location. As waves and wind beat the trawler into the side of the cleanup barge, the trawler’s outrigger/skimmer frame came loose from its dog and fell onto the head of our client, knocking him violently to the deck.

BP filed a motion for summary judgment, claiming that it was not responsible for the man’s injuries, despite its frequent promises to “make it right” for the Gulf Coast. As it did with its previous settlement, BP tried to get out of its obligations under the charter agreement in this case. The judge saw through this charade and ordered BP to stand trial before a jury in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana, for the wrongs it committed against this cleanup worker.

If you have a case involving injury in an offshore or maritime setting, on a boat or a barge, give us a call at Kopfler & Hermann, 1-800-250-4436.