Workers Injured In Gulf Of Mexico Oil Rig Explosion File Complaint In Texas

HOUSTON — (Mealey’s) Three injured workers and the widow of a man killed in the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig off the Louisiana coast last month filed a personal injury and wrongful death action in a Texas state court on May 4 (Joshua Kritzer, et al. v. Transocean Ltd., et al., No. 62,738, Galveston Co., Texas).

Joshua Kritzer, Nick Watson, Bill Johnson and Rhonda Burkeen sued Transocean Ltd., BP Products North America Inc., Halliburton Energy Services Inc., Sperry-Sun Drilling Services Inc. and Cameron International Corp. in the Galveston County Court.

Burkeen sued individually and on behalf of the estate of her late husband, Aaron Dale Burkeen.  The plaintiffs filed the action under the Jones Act pursuant to the “Saving to Suitors” clause.

On April 20, an explosion and fire resulted in the destruction and sinking of the oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico.  The accident caused the deaths of 11 men who were working on the rig, including Aaron Dale Burkeen.  Since the accident, the uncapped well has been spilling millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico each day.

Kritzer, Watson and Johnson were working on the rig the day of the accident and suffered physical and emotional injuries.  They maintain that after escaping the Deepwater Horizon, they had to wait more than 10 hours to be rescued, knowing that their friends and co-workers were still on the burning rig.

Rhonda Burkeen is the mother of two children.  Aaron Dale Burkeen, a Mississippi resident, worked as a crane operator on the rig owned by Transocean and leased by BP.

The plaintiffs claim that the defendants are negligent, negligent per se, grossly negligent and reckless for failing to properly supervise their crew, train employees, provide safety equipment,  provide medical treatment, maintain the vessel, conduct a proper search and rescue mission, provide a safe work environment and exercise due care and caution.

[Editor's Note:  Full coverage will be in the May 10 issue of Mealey’s Personal Injury Report.  In the meantime, the complaint is available at www.mealeysonline.com or by calling the Customer Support Department at 1-800-833-9844.  Document #77-100510-014C.  For all of your legal news needs, please visit www.lexisnexis.com/mealeys.]

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For more information, call editor Christopher Bauer at 610-205-1171, or e-mail him at christopher.bauer@lexisnexis.com.