Judge rules in oilfield workers comp lawsuit
An Anchorage judge ruled against a group of men who claimed an oil giant knowingly poisoned them.
In November, Steve Adams and Chris Lovely said they both have neurological damage thanks to a faulty pipe leaking toxic gas at a worksite on the Kenai, owned by oil-field service company Baker Hughes.
Both Adams and Lovely, who at the time worked for Native Corporation UIC, said the company knew the pipe was blowing the gas right at the site where they were working but didn't do anything about it until they were injured.
The two claim they have severe brain damage which left them disabled and unable to work. They sued Baker Hughes, saying they only wanted money for their medical expenses and wages they say they'll never be able to earn now.
However, earlier this week, an Anchorage Superior Court judge sided with Baker Hughes.
The ruling comes after a December 22 order after a motion by Baker Hughes to dismiss the case. Baker Hughes argued the men already got workers compensation benefits from UIC and that under state law they couldn’t get any further damages from the project owner. The judge agreed.
Judge Eric Aarseth ruled that the men failed to prove that Baker Hughes knew the risk and made a conscious decision not to act to correct the situation before they were injured. The judge did say, however, that Baker Hughes had some indication that the exhaust could reach their work site, and that fixing it could eliminate the risk.
Judge Aarseth wrote that Baker Hughes could have known the chemicals going through the pipe were harmful and that there is enough evidence to believe that Baker Hughes was aware of the risk to the men and didn’t fix the pipe despite those risks.
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