The Beaumont law firm that led the legal battle against BP after the deadly explosion at its Texas City refinery in 2005 has sued BP on behalf of a crewman in the April 20 fatal offshore rig blast near Louisiana.
"There are a lot of good law firms out there, but none with our experience with BP," Brent Coon with Brent Coon and Associates said Monday in a telephone interview from Houston.
The rig, about 50 miles offshore
from southeast Louisiana's Plaquemines Parish was under contract to BP. There were about 130 people aboard when the rig exploded, killing 11 workers and injuring at least 17 others.
Coon said his Beaumont firm will represent Stephen Stone, a Houston crewman aboard the Deep Water Horizon drill rig, and his wife, Sara Stone.
Stephen Stone suffered injuries in the explosion, but survived. His wife is listed as a plaintiff because BP prevented information about survivors from reaching families for at least 24 hours, according to the lawsuit.
Defendants in the lawsuit include Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling Inc.; Deep Water Horizon; BP Products North America Inc.; Halliburton Energy Services; Cameron International Corp.; and MI Swaco.
The theory of the case so far is a fire and explosion resulted from gases escaping from the drill hole on the Gulf floor 5,000 feet deep.
Halliburton had just completed setting cement in the well casing, but the escaping gases ignited, causing the catastrophic explosion that killed 11 workers and resulted in the rig's sinking on April 22 - Earth Day.
Coon said other law firms involved in the case asked him to participate because of the case he pursued against BP after the Texas City refinery explosion.
Coon then represented a client, Eva Rowe, who lost her mother and father - both contract workers at the BP refinery in the March 2005 explosion. Fifteen people died in that explosion that also injured more than 170 others.
Rowe settled with BP in early 2007 on the day the trial was to have begun and the settlement forced BP to make public information about the explosion that a federal investigating agency said resulted from a corporate culture of maximizing profits at the expense of safety.
BP also agreed to pay $32 million for a variety of medical and educational efforts that Rowe would administer.