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Julie Smith, et al. v. Red Mountain Energy, LLC, et. al.
January 21, 2020

Following three weeks of grisly testimony about a tragic 2018 oil rig explosion that killed five, jurors nevertheless found that AZA client National Oilwell Varco (NOV) was only 10 percent responsible. The Oklahoma  jury found in January 2020 that other companies that had already settled out of the case for significant amounts were 90 percent at fault. 

The devastating accident was the industry’s deadliest since the Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. The lawsuit was brought by two of the surviving families.  

The jurors who returned this verdict, well below the settlement offered by Houston-based NOV pre-trial, were subjected to horrific photoof the bodies, medical examiner testimony about the likely pain felt by the victims, and a courtroom packed with often crying childrenLawyers for the families asked the jurors for $200 million from NOV. Before trial, NOV offered to settle the case with the two families for substantially more than the jury verdict requiring NOV to pay only $2 million. That is only one percent of what the plaintiffs’ lawyers sought.  

The well was owned by Red Mountain Operating, which the jury found 60 percent responsible for the tragedy. The rig was owned and operated by Patterson-UTI Drilling Company, LLC. NOV provided the drilling mud used in the operation and one on-site worker.  

AZA lawyers argued that NOV had a very limited role in the operation, and NOV employees had not been authorized to make any of the decisions that led to the tragedy. The jurors agreed. 

AZA lawyers: John Zavitsanos, Kevin Leyendecker and  Michael Killingsworth 

1221 McKinney St, Suite 2500, Houston, TX 77010 | (713) 655-1101
© 2024  Ahmad, Zavitsanos & Mensing All rights reserved.

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1221 McKinney St, Suite 2500
Houston, TX 77010
(713) 655-1101

© 2024 All rights reserved.

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