NEW ORLEANS (CN) - The chief mechanic of the doomed Deepwater Horizon seeks punitive damages from BP, Transocean, Halliburton and others who ran the "unseaworthy" oil rig until it exploded. Charles Cochran says he was asleep when he was "violently thrown from his bunk and across his cabin" when the rig blew up.
In his federal complaint, Cochran says Transocean's repeated acts of negligence and carelessness in operating the Deepwater Horizon indicates the rig manufacturer's "evil motive or intent."
The rig exploded April 20 off the coast of Louisiana, killing 11, injuring 17 others and setting off the worst oil spill in U.S. history.
"Amid the panic and screaming of the crew, while the rig fell into pieces around him, (Cochran) made his way to a lifeboat for evacuation. He was placed into a lifeboat which was lowered to the Gulf of Mexico, from which he was transferred to a workboat, while experiencing severe pain in his neck and shoulder area. These injuries have since required a long and arduous course of medical care and treatment, which will continue throughout his life, including but not limited to surgical procedures," according to the complaint.
The Deepwater Horizon rig was owned and maintained by Transocean, and was leased to BP at BP's Macondo well.
Cochran's complaint continues: "While aboard the workboat for the remainder of the night, and throughout the next day, he witnessed the crew all about him, screaming, and visions of the rig burning and disintegrating, which impressions, in addition to the physical injuries and their consequences caused by the same events subject of the suit, caused him to suffer extreme emotional damages which will not abate.
"As a result of his injuries, Charles Cochran is and will remain permanently and totally physically, functionally and anatomically disabled, impaired and disfigured."
Cochran sued all the major defendants in the Deepwater Horizon litigation.
Because Cochran was an employee of Transocean, he brought additional Jones Act violations against the rig manufacturer, listing 30 "nonexclusive particulars." Among them:
"Failing to properly operate the Deepwater Horizon;
"Operating the Deepwater Horizon in such a manner that a fire and explosion occurred on board ...
"Negligent implementation of policies and procedures to safely conduct offshore operations in the Gulf of Mexico;
"Employing untrained or poorly trained employees and failing to properly train the employees ... [and]
"Failure to react to danger signs."
He adds: "the unseaworthy conditions aboard the Deepwater Horizon demonstrate Transocean's grossly negligent, callous, willful, wanton, reckless and indifferent disregard for the plaintiff's federally protected rights to a seaworthy vessel, and evil motive or intent."
Named as defendants are BP plc; BP Products North America; BP America; Transocean; Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling; Transocean Deepwater; Halliburton Energy Services and Cameron International Corporation fka Cooper Cameron Corporation.
Cochran is represented by Peter Koeppel of New Orleans.
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