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NEW ORLEANS, La. — In a hearing held on on Tuesday, Nov. 27, BP agreed to pay $4.5 billion to settle the criminal charges and related Securities and Exchange Commission charges against the oil company that occurred more than 2½ years after the Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico.

Two of the rig supervisors and a BP executive are also facing jail time. The supervisors are charged with ‘failing to alert on-shore managers at the time they observed clear signs that the Macondo well was not secure and that oil and gas were flowing into the well,’ and the supervisor is charged with ‘obstruction of Congress and making false statements to law enforcement officials about the amount of oil flowing from the well.

Trial dates were expected to be set at a hearing the following Wednesday for BP well-site leaders Donald Vidrine and Robert Kaluza and former executive David Rainey. Criminal charges against them were announced at the same time as the plea deal with BP. A judge also may set bond conditions and other restrictions on the defendants, but the workers don’t face arrest ahead of time, their lawyers said.

Kaluza and Vidrine are charged with manslaughter, accused of failing to alert on-shore managers at the time they observed clear signs that the Macondo well was not secure and that oil and gas were flowing into the well. The well blew out, causing an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig that killed 11 workers. The resulting oil spill was the worst in U.S. history.

Rainey, a former BP vice president in charge of exploration in the Gulf of Mexico, is charged with obstruction of Congress and making false statements to law enforcement officials about the amount of oil flowing from the well.

Lawyers for all three have said their clients will plead not guilty and fight the charges.

A fourth employee, former BP engineer Kurt Mix, was charged previously with obstruction for allegedly deleting text messages about the rate at which oil was flowing to the sea.

Source: Chron.com


Posted by Louisiana maritime lawyer, Gordon, Elias & Seely.

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