Wrongful death trial settled out of court

A WRONGFUL death case against US drilling companies has been settled before going to trial, following lengthy pre-trial wrangling and appeals over evidence.

Anthony Barich

Justin Burnett alleged that on March 19, 2011, his father Scottie was working as a rigger for TK Stanley when he was pinned under collapsed rig components that were being off-loaded at the drilling site.

Nabors Drilling, the company in charge of the site where the incident occurred, TK Stanley and Legend Oil Field Services were all subcontractors on the site and were all named in the wrongful death suit.

Justin Burnett was suing for the loss of his father’s earning capacity, care, services, maintenance, support, services, advice, counsel, companionship and society, with his suit stating: “At the time of the incident subject of this suit, Scottie Wayne Burnett was following directions being issued by defendants.”

The complaint also said the family endured mental anguish and lost his inheritance.

The original lawsuit was filed on January 28 last year in Jefferson County District Court against the three drilling companies, alleging negligence by the defendants.

On November 20, the justices denied Nabors’ attempt to stay the slated December 8 trial with an appeal to the Texas Ninth District Court of Appeals in Beaumont; so rather than allow jurors to decide the case, the parties reached a settlement last Friday, a courthouse official said.

Nabors had also objected to affidavits from two of Nabors’ former employees on evidentiary grounds and because their testimony had “not been adequately disclosed” during the discovery process. However, on October 31 trial court Judge Milton Shuffield overruled the objections.

Nabors then claimed Shuffield abused his discretion and asked the appeals court to order the trial court to vacate the October 31 order.