Oil Field Drilling and Production Lawsuit Experience
When you face the IRS in a negotiation over unpaid taxes, you hire a CPA and a Tax Lawyer; you hire the most experienced, the most knowledgeable and the most successful ones you can afford. You don’t hire a CPA that specializes in “new business start-ups” or a Tax Attorney who specializes in overseas investments. Many of the firms who are advertising on the web, on TV or in the print media about being “oil field injury lawyers” or “Bakkan Shale oil lawyers” are attempting to cash in on injuries to oil field workers in North Dakota without first obtaining the experience needed to represent seriously injured workers against the oil industry. It is akin to going against the IRS with the wrong “Tax professional.” You don’t want to have your tax liability in the hands of someone not experienced or knowledgeable in taxes or in dealing with the IRS. You also don’t want to have an oil and gas case handled by an attorney who has never tried an oil field case and whose main experience is car accidents or “boat law.”
Drilling an oil or gas well in the “Bakkan Shale” where directional drilling and fracing are involved, requires experience. In fact, drilling any type of well requires experience and knowledge. The operator who owns the lease and a majority of the “working interest” in the well would not hire a drilling engineer who has never been in the oil and gas business, but has designed ocean-going ships. The operator would not hire an automobile mechanic who worked in the garage at Sears all his life as the consultant or company man. The drilling contractor would not hire a the mechanic who checks the brakes on your car at “Break-Check” to act as the tool-pusher or the person who changes your oil at one of those 30 minute oil change places to serve as the driller. None of the experience of “designing ocean going ships,” or working on cars prepares someone to drill an oil or gas well. Yet, if you look at the experience of the lawyers in the ads mentioned, that’s just where they have experience – in “Jones Act” cases involving seamen, in automobile cases involving tire or other defects or simply in automobile wreck cases.
The attorneys at Williams, PLLC have actually tried oil field cases and understand what job the consultant, tool pusher, driller and derrick man or hands perform on a drilling rig. Most serious oil field cases result from blow-outs, falls or something heavy being dropped and striking someone. The causes of a blow-out may not have occurred on the day of the blow-out but instead may require extensive review of the IADC reports or the mud logs. Our attorneys understand the oil and gas business from years of experience.
Mr. Williams grew up trying oil field cases, only as a defense lawyer. Two of Mr. Williams’s three main defense clients were Mobil Oil Corporation and The Halliburton Company and Halliburton Energy Services Inc., after the various companies were combined. In addition, Mr. Williams actually tried oil field cases for his third major client, The Westinghouse Electric Corporation when they were sued over an electric breaker they manufactured that exploded and caused an electrical fire on a lease in South Texas.
After years of experience defending oil companies, Mr. Williams “saw the light,” switched sides and began battling those same companies – helping oil and gas workers seek compensation for their injuries. He has handled cases involving surface cement, stuck or cemented drill pipe, wireline tools and fishing, coil tubing, directional drilling, drilling mud, snubbing, plugs and hydraulic tools, well-control valves, fracing (aka “fracking” or “frakking”), and seismic operations. Just about every type oil field operation has been the subject of a lawsuit Mr. Williams has been involved in and tried.
Numerous lawyers have obtained their first and sometimes only oil field experience in the BP or British Petroleum case involving the “DEEPWATER HORIZON,” TransOcean’s drilling rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. The issues in that case not only involve oil and gas, but they also are intertwined with maritime law, and the pollution problems involving the large spill resulting from the explosion. Mr. Williams is not “cutting his teeth,” on the BP case. Of more importance to clients involved in litigation occurring in the Bakkan Shale, Mr. Williams was lead counsel for Halliburton on the BIGHORN 3, involving a Parker Drilling Rig that burned as a result of a blow-out on a LL&E well outside Caspar, Wyoming in mid-1993-4.
Oil and gas drilling operations from “spudding” the well to reaching “TD” involve not only technical terms that any lawyer can look up on the web, but operations involving those terms. Mr. Williams has actually learned how the various operations are carried out during his experience defending the industry. A perfect example occurred on a case where Mr. Williams represented “Halliburton Trinidad, LTD,” the Halliburton Company operating in Trinidad in the Caribbean. The case involved a wireline fishing operation. In order to properly defend the allegations against Halliburton Mr. Williams spent several days at the Company’s practice well in the interior of the Island while the crew involved in the job went through what they had done during the fishing operations. A fishing tool manufactured by Bowen Tools was involved and eventually became the focus of the case as a result of the Halliburton crew’s testimony and Mr. Williams work.
Jeff Weikum and Rodney Pagel and the firm Pagel Weikum, like Williams, PLLC, have been involved in the litigation from the Bakkan Shale since it started. The firm has been counsel or co-counsel in numerous blow-out cases. They didn’t just start out yesterday; they aren’t learning oil and gas law from your case. Mr. Weikum has been involved in at least four high-profile burn or death cases just in the last two years, and that doesn’t count his downstream representation of death or burn clients in cases involving propane or other petroleum products.
The operator, drilling company and any of the service companies involved in an injury or death will hire the most experienced and best oil and gas defense lawyers they can find to represent them. Their lawyers will understand the industry and how drilling and producing occurs in the oil field. You have the opportunity to hire attorneys with the same and even better levels of experience as that of the oil company and service company lawyers. In a recent case involving both Mr. Williams and Mr. Weikum, one of the defense lawyers actually sent an email stating that Mr. Williams was the most knowledgeable lawyer he had ever met with regard to oil and gas.
We at Williams, PLLC and Pagel Weikum have worked hard to obtain the experience we have in the oil industry. The fact of our success is written by our longevity, by who comes to us for representation and by what others have said about us. We are proud of our reputation in the oil field; it has been earned over the years by hard work and satisfied clients.
When you are injured on a drilling rig or in the oil field, you have a choice of a number of lawyers – just like when your car needs service you can take it to a number of service centers. When you or a loved one is injured as a result of an activity on an oil and gas rig or within the oil and gas industry, you have the opportunity to go to lawyers with the experience and knowledge to fight for you against your opponents. We have handled serious cases. Let us put our experience to work for you.
Call us for a free consultation.