Beasley Allen and co-counsel have amended their suit against BP on behalf of three fishermen, Bradley Shivers, Mark Mead and Scott Russell, who risked their own safety to help victims immediately following the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion April 20, 2010. The three plaintiff fishermen rushed to the rig that was engulfed in flames to offer help to those injured. The plaintiffs gave little thought to their own safety, which ultimately was compromised as they voluntarily aided rescue efforts. The plaintiffs are represented by Beasley Allen attorneys Rhon Jones, head of firm’s Toxic Torts Section, and William Sutton along with Adam Milam of Milam & Milam, LLC in Fairhope, Alabama.
“Bradley, Mark and Scott raced to the horrible scene that night nearly a decade ago with one thought in mind, to help people in any way they could,” said Sutton. “They witnessed a tragedy and the horrific pain and suffering of fellow humans. Our clients’ bravery and heroism left them with physical injuries and mental scars that continue to haunt them. Their actions are in stark contrast to those of BP, which led to one of the worst environmental disasters our country has ever witnessed.”
The explosion killed 11 crew members and left the Macondo well spewing crude oil for just over three months. The spill devastated Alabama’s beaches, its tourism industry and businesses throughout the State, causing Alabama to suffer substantial tax losses and environmental impacts.
“BP showed little remorse in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon explosion,” said Milam. “The company has shown the same kind of indifference to our clients. It is time BP answers to our clients and is held accountable for the pain, suffering and economic losses they have all endured as a result of BP’s reckless behavior and decisions to skimp on safety that caused the disaster.”
The day before the explosion, the plaintiffs set out in Shivers’ Ramblin Wreck, a Jupiter 31’ center console boat for a 36-hour fishing trip. The night of the explosion, something caught Shivers’ attention and a closer look revealed that a rig was on fire. The three raced the approximately 15 miles to the rig. When they arrived, the only other boat in the area was the Damon B Bankston supply boat and the lawsuit explains that there were people, lifeboats and burning debris floating in the water around the fiery rig.
Nighttime visibility was made even worse with the intense brightness of the flaming rig, and the extreme heat was unbearable at times, yet the plaintiffs searched the waters continuously trying to identify and save people. Subsequent explosions shook the area and the plaintiffs’ boat every few minutes, further intensifying their fear. Still, the fishermen continued. They retrieved an industrial medical kit from the supply boat because the plaintiffs’ smaller boat could travel faster. The plaintiffs relayed messages from the Coast Guard to the supply ship, which was unable to communicate directly with the Coast Guard. The plaintiffs worked for hours searching for the missing workers, providing water, sodas and other items from their personal belongings to comfort the survivors until other boats and the Coast Guard arrived to assist them.
The sights, sounds and experiences continue to haunt the brave fishermen. Their physical injuries have healed but the emotional trauma persists. The lawsuit describes how “painful anxiety attacks and recurring images of what he had seen and heard” has forced Mead to take medication to deal with his symptoms. Further, Mead’s business for the foreseeable future has been destroyed by the resulting oil spill. The lawsuit says, “It is hard to describe the stress and depression Plaintiff Mark experiences on a daily and nightly basis.”
The case is filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, case number MDL Docket No. 2179.