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Sunday, July 21, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

BP Can’t Plug Claims of Stealing Oil Spill Fix

TAMPA, Fla. (CN) - A federal judge refused to dismiss claims that BP stole a Clearwater man's invention to clean up the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill that contaminated the Gulf Coast.

Joseph Kaminski claims that he talked to BP's technical support team on the phone about his method of inserting a smaller pipe into the broken pipeline. He then allegedly relayed specific details on the technology and equipment needed for the fix in a May 12 email.

BP Exploration and Production and BP America Production moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim, but U.S. District Judge Susan Bucklew found Tuesday that Kaminski appropriately stated six claims for relief.

The oil company had argued that Kaminski's idea was a variation of its own "Top Hat" idea, thereby adapting "an existing knowledge."

Though BP submitted 13 journal and news articles that allegedly showed Kaminski's ideas in the public domain, the inventor's attorneys said Kaminski's plan was different.

Bucklew said the question should be decided at trial.

Kaminski says that BP could not have capped the oil well without his help and stole his idea instead of paying him the $2 million he requested. His complaint alleges three counts of breach of implied contract and three counts of unjust enrichment.

A jury trial is scheduled for in November 2013.

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