The Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion that dumped around 4.5 million of barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico has been a costly disaster. Though the wellhead blowout happened back in 2010, people are still answering for the mistakes made on that fateful April day. One BP supervisor is just now standing trial for potentially misleading a congressional subcommittee, and he has chosen an unusual method to defend himself in court.
The BP executive, a geologist by trade, and his legal representation have chosen to subpoena several of the subcommittee members and their staffers to testify in the case. This strategy has proven to be difficult considering that members of Congress and their staff are protected by the “speech and debate” clause of the Constitution. That particular section of the Constitution provides legal immunity for what members of Congress and their staffers may say or report while working on legislative duties.
Several congressmen have used the “speech and debate” clause to resist subpoenas from the BP executive, but the prosecution’s list of witnesses includes 4 congressional staffers who have apparently waived this right. Now the BP executive’s lawyers are claiming that those staffers’ testimony should not be included in the trial since the defense cannot call staffers or congressmen to provide counter points.
Can An Attorney Help Me If I’m Injured In An Oil Rig Accident?
Unfortunately, this is just a small taste of the complications that have arisen in cases brought against BP, its executives, and its supervisors. Some charges against supervisors present for the explosion have been dropped entirely because the maritime laws being used did not apply to the rig workers. The lawyers of Galloway Jefcoat are highly experienced in oil field and oil rig accidents. Visit our oil field worker page to find out about your rights as a worker, and for even more information, follow our blog, Facebook, and Twitter.
Galloway Jefcoat LLP—Personal Injury Attorneys in Lafayette, LA