Our firm has filed suit on behalf of three persons who were made sick and are now disabled as a result of working in the clean-up effort. Their health was virtually destroyed. Each of them grew up on the water and were in good health. The Plaintiffs, Gary Stewart of Mobile, Ricky Thrasher of Orange Beach, and Robyn Hill of Foley, have very serious health problems. Each is unemployed, uninsured, in debt and in constant pain and discomfort. Because of their conditions, they can’t work and can barely function. None of them had a clue what they were being exposed to during the oil spill cleanup.
Their lawsuits are now part of the Multi District Litigation pending in U.S. District Court in New Orleans. The three Plaintiffs are asking for compensatory damages, medical screening and monitoring. They are also asking for punitive damages because of the conduct of the Defendants, which include BP, Transocean Ltd., and Nalco Co.
BP purchased chemical dispersants from Nalco to use in the cleanup. The government didn’t even know what chemicals were being used at first. In late May 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency directed BP to use a less toxic form of dispersant to break up the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. BP used more than 1.8 million gallons of two types of Corexit (9500 and 9527) and each is “harmful to human health.” The workers should never have been exposed to these chemicals. The Defendants never warned them of the hazards and failed to provide any type protection for the workers. It wasn’t until Stewart, a boat captain, returned to shore and took his boat to a decontamination site to be cleaned that he saw any reason to be concerned. When he saw that the dispersant had actually eaten the paint off the hull of his boat, he was greatly concerned about what it would do to humans.
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences is in the initial stages of a ten-year study to monitor and document the health of those who responded to the clean-up. Interestingly, BP contributed $10 million to the study. The plan is to follow 55,000 workers and volunteers in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida. Even though it is helping to pay for this study, BP, as well as the other Defendants, has refused to pay any of those whose health has been destroyed by the chemicals used.
We are currently investigating potential claims on behalf of numerous others on the coast who were exposed to the chemicals. If you need more information about these suits, contact Parker Miller or Rhon Jones in our firm’s Toxic Torts Section at 800-898-2034 or by email at Parker.Miller@beasleyallen.com or Rhon.Jones@beasleyallen.com.
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