Chesapeake sued over fatal well blast in South Texas
The families of three oilfield workers recently killed in a blowout are suing Chesapeake Energy Corp., arguing that the company’s failure to properly manage the well site led to the deaths.
Three lawsuits filed in Dallas County District Court this month accuse Chesapeake and a handful of contractors of acting negligently at the site of a blowout and fire that broke out at a drilling site in Burleson County.
The explosion immediately killed one worker, and two later succumbed to their injuries in hospital after natural gas ignited while workers were upgrading the well head, according to the Railroad Commission of Texas’ initial inspection of the site. The workers killed were named in the lawsuits as Brian Maldanado, Brad Hendrix and Wendell Beddingfield.
A fourth worker, Justin Cobb, was also injured in the blast and has joined the lawsuit filed by Beddingfield’s mother. Though the extent of Cobb’s injuries are not discussed in the text of the lawsuit, the suit claims that they are catastrophic and permanent.
Chesapeake declined to comment on the case or to say whether the cause for the accident is known. The explosion is under investigation by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board.
While none of the lawsuits go into detail about what happened that day, they all accuse Chesapeake of failing to provide proper equipment to prevent pressure from building up in the wellbore. The lawsuits also claim that a Chesapeake supervisor on-site failed to properly oversee the work being done.
Two weeks after the Burleson well explosion, a second Chesapeake well in the Eagle Ford Shale county caught fire. There were no injuries immediately reported at the site of that fire in Brazos County.
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The oil industry continues to grow with the world’s demand for oil and natural gas. With this increased demand, there has also been an increase in accidents causing serious injury and death to workers who often are inadequately trained or supervised. We offer experienced, strategic support to protect the rights of our clients and their families after suffering a serious oilfield injury or death.
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An oilfield injury or death may be caused by:
Company failure to take reasonable precautions
Improper employee training
Oilfield Safety Violations
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Defective products & oilfield machinery
Drug & alcohol abuse
Negligent operation of oilfield equipment
Individuals injured by oilfield accidents often suffer catastrophic injuries, including wrongful death. Our oilfield lawyer team has the legal and medical experience to effectively handle a range of cases involving serious & complex injuries caused by explosions and burns, falls, defective products and equipment, toxic fumes and fires.
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Oilfield Accidents and Injuries are on the Rise
Oil and gas industry injuries are the most dangerous and fatal in the country. From 2003 to 2010, the U.S. oil and gas industry (both onshore and offshore combined) had a collective fatality rate that was 7 times higher than the rate for all U.S. workers combined. Louisiana had 5 catastrophic refinery and oil rig explosions between January and October 2017, more than any other state in the country.
What to do After an Oilfield Accident
- Stop working immediately
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