The Houston Chronicle and the Associated Press have reported that, BP and the state of Alabama have asked U.S. District Judge, Carl Barbier, of New Orleans to impose sanctions against Halliburton. The British oil giant claims that, Halliburton's inability/unwillingness to produce samples of the cement that may have been used in the construction of its Macondo well has negatively impacted BP's ability to defend itself in ongoing litigation. The joint filing alleges Halliburton's destruction of the cement samples and asks Judge Barbier to find that Halliburton's construction design on the Gulf of Mexico drilling project was unstable prior to the April 2010 blowout. Halliburton has failed to produce samples of the cement for nearly three years. BP has claimed that that Halliburton's conduct in this matter has "undermined the integrity of [the] proceedings and severely prejudiced BP and the other parties".
In response to BP's filing, Halliburton has disclosed that samples of the cement, previously unreleased to the Justice Department, were discovered in the contractor's Lafayette laboratory late last Wednesday. If granted, the judicially imposed sanctions could prevent Halliburton from using certain defenses at the trial, making it difficult for the contracting behemoth to challenge a finding of gross negligence. Such a finding would allow for the possibility of astronomic punitive damages against Halliburton.
Unfortunately, such corporate dishonesty and underhandedness is not rare. However, the BP/Alabama motion is an important reminder that Justice will not allow even the biggest of adversaries to escape the consequences of their actions. Pavich Law Group P.C., has years of experience fighting against wildly negligent and intentionally reckless corporations. If you believe you have been harmed by the actions of a powerful corporation, please contact our experienced attorneys for a free consultation to determine your legal rights.