Roughneck News

Rig Explosion Victim’s Wife Files Lawsuit

March 5, 2018

Attorneys filed a lawsuit against the drilling companies involved in the Patterson 219 rig explosion, seeking more than $75,000 in damages for the wife of one of the five men killed.

Fires burn at an eastern Oklahoma drilling rig near Quinton Okla. Five people workers were killed after a fiery explosion at a drilling rig.The lawsuit — filed in Pittsburg County District Court — alleges negligence and reckless conduct of Red Mountain Operating, LLC, Red Mountain Energy, LLC, Patterson-UTI Drilling Co., LLC and Patterson-UTI Energy, Inc., resulted in the wrongful death of Parker Waldridge, 60, of Crescent, Oklahoma, in the explosion.

Oklahoma City-based attorney Whitten Burrage and Dallas-based attorney Michael P. Lyons filed the lawsuit on behalf of Waldridge’s wife, Dianna Waldridge.

The first cause of action in the lawsuit alleges one count of negligence by Red Mountain, which attorneys allege failed to ensure safe working conditions, failed to “properly instruct and supervise its employees,” negligently approved work to be performed by contractors, and failed to hire a competent drilling contractor.

Patterson faces one count of negligence through the lawsuit's allegations the company failed to provide safe working conditions, failed to properly train employees in rotary drilling operations, failed to properly supervise operations, and directed employees to operate ion unsafe conditions.

All of the defendants face one count of alleged reckless conduct and one count of alleged wrongful death, according to court documents.

Damages sought include claims for extraordinary grief and mental anguish; the loss of future financial support; the loss of parental care, training guidance, or education; loss of companionship; pain and suffering; and burial expenses, according to the lawsuit.

Attorneys allege that Red Mountain operated the well and Patterson “had direct control over all rotary drilling operations and all of the necessary and required emergency responses for subsurface conditions.”

The lawsuit claims the explosion “was preventable had safety been properly managed and controlled during these rotary drilling operations.”

Attorneys allege Patterson-UTI has the “second worst worker fatality rate among its peers in the industry,” “has been cited more than 110 times for serious safety violations” in the last decade, and “has been told by federal regulators that its lack of concern for safety created a seriously dangerous environment for its workers.”

Patterson drilled to approximately 13,500 feet when it was decided to remove or pull the entire assembly of pipe (trip-out or tripping-out), in addition to the bottom-hole assembly and the rock bit from the well, the lawsuit alleges.

Waldridge had just started his shift and was in the “doghouse” — a building located atop the rig floor — when the bit was removed around 8:25 a.m. the day of the explosion, according to the lawsuit.

According to the lawsuit, Waldridge — a well site consultant — did not typically work his shifts in the doghouse, instead spending most time in the well site consultant’s trailer on site.

The rig had three individual blowout preventers (BOPs); one annular preventer; a double ram-type preventer; and one ram-type preventer — all of which open and close from the rig floor or on the ground, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges the Patterson crew “was obligated to undertake all of the required steps” to shut the well and questioned why the blowout preventers remained open after indications of uncontrolled flow.

Source: McAlester News

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