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More Lawsuits Filed in Patterson UTI Rig Explosion-Details Emerge

April 25, 2018

Lawsuits were filed Tuesday in Pittsburg County District Court on behalf of the final two victims who lost their lives during the Patterson 219 rig explosion.

Patterson UTI Oklahoma Rig Explosion Lawsuits FiledAttorneys filed lawsuits on behalf of Josh Ray’s widow and the estate of Cody Risk alleging negligence and more against the companies involved in the Jan. 22 rig explosion in Quinton.

The explosion occurred Jan. 22, 2018, at the Patterson 219 rig near Quinton and killed five workers — Matt Smith, 29, of McAlester, Oklahoma; Josh Ray, 35, of Fort Worth, Texas; Cody Risk, 26, of Wellington, Colorado; Parker Waldridge, 60, of Crescent, Oklahoma; and Roger Cunningham, 55, of Seminole, Oklahoma.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs allege the lawsuits arose “out of yet another tragic preventable incident caused by irresponsible companies working in the oilfield who place money and profit over safety and human life.”

Red Mountain Operating, LLC, Red Mountain Energy, LLC, Crescent Consulting, LLC, National Oilwell Varco, LP, Jim Brody Blagg, Patterson-UTI Drilling Co., LLC and Patterson-UTI Energy, Inc. are named as the defendants in the lawsuit filed on behalf of Ray.

The same defendants were listed in the lawsuit filed on behalf of Charles Levi Brite — the conservator of Cody Risk’s estate. Attorneys also claimed the same allegations against the parties involved.

Attorneys claim in the suits that Red Mountain was responsible for all operations and Patterson-UTI was contracted to drill the well. But because Red Mountain contracted the drilling and maintained control over operations, “Red Mountain was solely responsible for and, voluntarily, agreed to assume all liability for the drilling operations” during the incident, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuits state Ray and Risk were in the doghouse — a building located atop the rig floor — when crews had drilled about 13,500 feet before an uncontrolled release of gas during the tripping-out process led to the explosion.

Attorneys allege that the Red Mountain supervisors on site at the time “were holding expired Well Control Certificates” and the company failed to inspect and maintain safe conditions, in addition to a failure to properly train employees.

The lawsuits allege the following against Red Mountain:

• gross negligence for failing to ensure safe working conditions, supervise work being done, to prepare a safe well plan and more

• premise liability as Ray “was killed by a defective and dangerous condition that posed an unreasonable risk”

• failed to train employees and/or agents

• failed to train “company men”

• failed to supervise drilling operations

• failed to provide rules and regulations

• failed to furnish safe instrumentalities

• strict liability for ultra hazardous activities

• breached the service contract by its failure to follow safety measures

• negligence for conduct of “company men”

Attorneys allege David Silcott, Andy Frey and Jim Brody Blagg were acting on behalf of Crescent Consulting during the events leading to the explosion.

The lawsuits allege gross negligence by Crescent Consulting as a result of omission and commission by company men, in addition to negligence by Blagg.

National Oilwell Varco supplied inadequate drilling fluids and technicians for the site and the company was negligent in its omission and commission, the lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuits alleges the following against Patterson-UTI

• negligence for failing to ensure safe working conditions, supervise work being done, to prepare a safe well plan and more

• gross negligence for failing to ensure safe working conditions, despite long history of safety violations

The lawsuit filed for Ray demands a jury trial and seeks wrongful death damages of at least $10,000 to his estate, $10,000 to his spouse and children, and $10,000 to his minor child.

The lawsuit filed for Risk demands a jury trial and seeks wrongful death damages of at least $10,000 to his estate, and $10,000 to his children.

Attorneys filed a lawsuit March 2 in Pittsburg County District Court alleging negligence and reckless conduct resulted in the wrongful death of Waldridge. A second lawsuit related to the rig explosion was filed March 9 on behalf of Cunningham’s widow. A third lawsuit was filed March 14 on behalf of Smith’s widow.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration initiated an investigation Jan. 24 and the U.S. Chemical Safety Board is investigating the incident.

Source: McAlester News Capital

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