In April 2010, BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig exploded leading to the deaths of 11 workers, and spewed an estimated 134 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Federal prosecutors were able to secure an enormous settlement for the criminal and civil charges placed on BP, as a corporation, after this blowout. Despite the punishment against the corporation, 5 years have passed, and it is increasingly possible that not one person from BP will serve prison time.
In June 2015, a jury acquitted former BP executive David Rainey and found him not guilty in manipulating calculations to extremely underinflate the amount of oil that actually spilled into the Gulf of Mexico. Furthermore, a BP engineer pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge and did not have to go to jail after he faced two felony charges for spoliation of evidence. Similarly, a Halliburton manager pled guilty after deleting computer records, but only was sentenced to probation.
A 13-day trial began for Robert Kaluza, one of the last people to stand trial for the 2010 BP oil spill. Kaluza was one of two supervisors, who ignored tests which indicated that a rig explosion and well blowout were imminent. Kaluza and the other supervisor faced manslaughter charges for the death of 11 workers when it was alleged that they clearly missed signs of an impending blowout. However, prosecutors charging manslaughter on lower-ranking employees in other BP oil related cases are having their cases unravel before them with jurors and judges skeptical on the criminal liability. With that in mind, prosecutors in this case are only charging Kaluza with a violation of the Clean Water Act.
With Kaluza being one of the last people individually charged in the BP oil spill, it seems that nobody related to the BP oil spill will ever serve any prison time.
If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of an oil and gas related accident, contact an attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner by calling (713) 222-7211 or toll free at 713-222-7211.