Originally posted by Brenda Sapino Jeffreys - Texas Lawyer - April 30, 2010
Brent Coon & Associates of Beaumont, which gained a national reputation representing plaintiffs in the 2005 explosion of a BP refinery in Texas City, wasted little time in getting involved in litigation stemming from the April 20 explosion of an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. This morning, two clients of the firm filed a petition in state district court in Harris County seeking a temporary restraining order and a temporary injunction to prevent five companies that they claim are connected to the rig’s operation or construction from destroying documents or physical evidence “related to or involved in the incident.” Brent Coon (pictured) told reporters during a conference call this morning that his clients seek a TRO “to prevent them from doing anything to the rig itself” and from destroying any documentary evidence. Plaintiff Stephen Stone, who was injured in the explosion, and his wife Sara filed Stephen Stone, et al. v. Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling Inc., et al. as an intervention in Tracy Kleppinger v. Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling Inc., et al., which was filed in the 234th District Court on April 22. Arthur Gonzalez, the managing attorney for one of the Houston offices of Brent Coon & Associates, told reporters this morning during the conference call that 157th District Judge Randy Wilson, the judge in Harris County on duty this week to hear emergency matters, said he would hear the request for the TRO this afternoon, after Gonzalez contacts in-house lawyers at each of the defendant companies. The defendants, all based in Houston or with operations in Houston, include Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling Inc., BP Products North America Inc., Halliburton Energy Services, Cameron International Corp., and Mi Swaco. The Stones bring negligence causes of action against the five companies, and Sara Stone brings intentional infliction of emotional distress and loss of consortium causes of action against the defendants. A spokesman for Transocean did not respond to an e-mail. Mike Abendhoff, a spokesman for BP, says he was not aware of the request for the TRO but says, “We don’t destroy documents. We are focused right now on the response [to the spill] period. That’s our top priority.” Cathy Mann, director of corporate affairs for Halliburton, did not immediately respond to an e-mail. Scott Amann, vice president investor relations for Cameron International Corp., says, “Our policy is not to comment on litigation.” Rich Cook, a spokesman for M-I Swaco, did not immediately return a telephone message seeking comment.