4 Significant Oilfield Class Action Cases You Should Know

June 8, 2016 @ 9:20 am

oil platform off coast

The oil industry currently brings in over 50 billion dollars a year and employs nearly 10 million American jobs. In an industry this size with such a high volume of revenue, any accident has the potential to negatively impact thousands and cause severe economic damage.

When oil and gas accidents do occur, they are typically followed by significant legal action, setting precedents for future issues and potentially leading to protective legislation. Here are four such cases that lead to increased environmental and worker protection:

  1. Overtime Wage Lawsuits

Based in Odessa, Texas, Desta Drilling had not provided overtime pay for approximately three years, yet the business offered financial rewards if oil wells were completed by certain dates. After workers submitted a class action lawsuit in 2014, the company paid more than $317,000 to 449 individuals who had frequently worked for more than 40 hours per week.

In October of 2014, several individuals filed a class action lawsuit against Mid Continent Well Logging, which is situated in Norman, Oklahoma. In total, 192 workers joined the lawsuit and indicated that certain individuals regularly worked for more than 70 hours per week, yet the plaintiffs were not typically given overtime pay. During November 2015, the business agreed to a settlement that provided a sum of $820,000 for the claimants.

  1.  BP’s Oil Spill

On April 20, 2010, oil began to stream from an underwater oil rig that was located in the Gulf of Mexico and owned by BP. In total, 4.9 million barrels of oil were released because the wellhead could not handle the consistent pressure, and BP utilized more than 1.8 million gallons of Corexit, which is a trademarked dispersant that may adversely affect an individual’s health.

According to a settlement, BP will pay approximately $18.7 billion to plaintiffs and to various businesses. The enterprise will also provide $350 million for the National Academy of Sciences, $2.3 billion for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and $150 million for the National Turkey Federation. The business has also allocated $45 million to the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, which was established in 1986 and may provide funds for organizations that can remove oil after spills have occurred.

  1.  Exxon Tanker Collision

During March 1989, an oil tanker slammed into a reef in the Prince William Sound, which is located in Alaska’s southeastern section, and the collision allowed approximately 38 million barrels of oil to spill into the Pacific Ocean. Numerous investigations indicated that the oil tanker’s operators had steered the ship away from safe sea lanes in order to avoid icebergs. Moreover, Exxon had not performed routine maintenance on the oil tanker’s specialized radar, which could have warned of an impending collision. According to one personal injury lawyer who evaluated the case, the system had not been active for at least one year before the collision.

A class action was officially submitted in 1994, and the plaintiffs received a cumulative reward of more than $1.5 billion. Furthermore, Exxon had to set up two settlement funds that can allow plaintiffs to make claims and protect funds for potential plaintiffs who have not yet submitted claims.

  1.  Requesting a Consultation

Founded in 1975, our law firm specializes in class actions and currently represents many individuals who have been impacted by the oil spill that BP caused. If you want to learn more information about our services, you may evaluate descriptions of previous results, join our online community and analyze several resources that we offer. In order to schedule a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer, you should fill out our contact form or call 800-356-6776.