Halliburton Blamed for Worker’s Rare Cancer

     NEW ORLEANS (CN) — A former Halliburton seaman claims in court that he caught a rare type of African Lymphoma while working abroad in Angola.
     As recounted ina complaint filed in Orleans Parish, Louisiana, Terry Riddle’s 2015 Lymphoma diagnosis came five years after he began working overseas for Halliburton on various offshore facilities.
     In his April 28 complaint, Riddle claims the debilitating disease has left him with life threatening injuries, and ripped him of his ability to maintain gainful employment.
     The defendants named in the lawsuit are
     Halliburton and HWL Ivory Coast, a company subsidiary.
     Riddle says that between 2010 and 2015, he worked at Halliburton facilities in the South African nation of Angola, and then in the Ivory Coast, a country on Africa’s western shore.
     “During the time petitioner was working in Angola, four or five of his co-workers contracted Lymphoma causing them severe health issues and at least two of them are believed to have died as a result of their illnesses,” the complaint says.
     The Louisiana man says he began experiencing unusual health issues during a visit home in March 2015, and that pain he was experiencing in his right shoulder was initially diagnosed as a pulled muscle.
     A month later, following his return to Africa, Riddle says he received the same diagnosis after he began to experience pain in his left shoulder, the complaint says.
     Days later, numbness in the chest led Riddle to a doctor yet again, where a CAT scan revealed a possible tumor on his spine. He immediately returned to Louisiana to obtain medical treatment, but says that Halliburton left him on his own.
     “Although petitioner should have been medevacked back to the U.S. via private healthcare to ensure his safety during travel, he was ordered to fly back to the U.S. via a commercial carrier, alone and without any assistance,” the complaint says.
     “During petitioner’s commercial plane flight home, his medical symptoms, including the numbness and loss of motor control caused him to fall where he sustained physical injury,” it said.
     Once back in Louisiana, Riddle was diagnosed “with a rare type of African Lymphoma, a virus that turns into cancer that is associated with travels to Africa.”
     Riddle says Halliburton failed to provide him with a safe work environment abroad, and forced him “to work in conditions known to be hazardous.”
     Riddle seeks compensatory and punitive damages under the Jones Act and for negligence.
     He is represented by Kenneth Hooks III with Dodson & Hooks of Baton Rouge.
     Last month, Halliburton officials announced that they slashed 6,000 jobs in the first three months of 2016, raising the number of total fired workers to 33,000, a result of the oil-market crash in late 2014.
     The upstream oil-service company still has more than 55,000 workers in 80 countries.
     A spokesman for Halliburton cited a company policy and declined to comment on the case, but said that “the health and safety of our employees is of paramount concern.”

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