Drilling Company Dismissed From Lawsuit Over Explosion
April 8, 2019
Attorneys for the wife of an Oklahoma man killed in a January 2018 drilling rig explosion dismissed one of the companies she is suing for his wrongful death.
Dianna Waldridge’s attorney dismissed negligence claims March 28 against Houston-based Patterson-UTI after reaching a settlement with the company.
Her husband, Parker Waldridge, and four others were killed in the explosion, which occurred at the Pryor Trust Gas Well near Quinton, Oklahoma.
At the time of the explosion, Patterson-UTI directed drilling operations and Red Mountain Energy was the leaseholder and operator of the well.
Waldridge’s lawyer, Michael Lyons, said he cannot comment on the settlement, but the lawsuit will be aggressively pursued against defendant Red Mountain Energy.
“My client is happy that the case has been resolved against Patterson,” Lyons said. “It would be nice for these families to be able to put this horrific tragedy behind them.”
Lyons said any possible settlement with the remaining defendants is up to them.
“We believe that we’ve brought a lot of attention to this tragedy and it’s important that nothing like this ever happen again. Our focus is going to be shifted to the defendants that remain in the case,” Lyons said.
The explosion and a subsequent fire occurred Jan. 22, 2018 as the rig crew removed the drill pipe from the well. When the drill pipe was lifted, mud blew upward from the well, and mud and gas from the well caught on fire.
The lawsuit was filed March 2, 2018 in the Pittsburg County District Court. It claimed the oil-field explosion, the deadliest one since the Transocean Deepwater Horizon explosion in April 2010, was preventable, had proper safety measures been taken during rotary drilling.
It alleges the rig superintendent and other employees were notified days before the incident of problems with the safety equipment that closes part of the well to control the release of fluids.
An investigation by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board found the accumulator could not fully close the day the explosion occurred.
Also killed in the incident were Josh Ray, Matthew Smith, Cody Risk and Roger Cunningham.
Patterson-UTI and Red Mountain Energy could not be reached for comment.
Source: Journal Record