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Transocean Invokes Obscure 159-year-old Law to Avoid Paying Damages to Injured Employees

Let’s talk about this little piece of news from Mother Jones (emphasis mine):

Transocean, the owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig that exploded and is still spewing millions of gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, is sending a message loud and clear: it intends to assume very little financial responsibility for the disaster. In a filing submitted to a federal court in Houston this week, the company has invoked an obscure, 159-year-old law to contend that it should only have to pay for the cost of salvaging the debris of the rig from the ocean.

Right, because the remnants of the rig are our biggest problem right now.

At the very same time, Transocean is also petitioning to consolidate its outstanding lawsuits in an attempt to avoid paying worker compensation down the road. Let’s not forget Transocean was trying to get workers to sign forms saying they weren’t injured and didn’t know what happened when the rig just plain exploded underneath their feet.

From McClatchy (emphasis mine):

In a statement, Transocean said the court petition was filed at the request of its insurance companies, and the petition will allow the company to consolidate all outstanding lawsuits before a single federal judge in Houston. The company said it now faces more than 100 lawsuits over the spill in several states.

Lawyers for those injured in the blast said the petition could also prevent any claims filed more than six months after the accident

Too bad for anyone who may suffer from delayed PTSD as a result of a rig exploding beneath you. You’re out of luck.

And the list of casualties just keeps growing, and growing, and growing…

UPDATE: Well, at least someone’s trying

Jo Lang, a prominent national lawmaker for [Switzerland’s Green Party], said he plans to introduce a motion in parliament calling for any taxes paid by Transocean in Switzerland last year to be donated toward helping those who suffered as a result of the rig disaster.

The amount is likely to be symbolic, as Transocean pays hardly any taxes in Switzerland.

"We want to show that the oil spill in the Gulf reaches all the way to Zug," Lang told The Associated Press.

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Brian Sonenstein

Brian Sonenstein

Publishing Editor at Shadowproof and columnist at Prison Protest.