Oil spill claimants to invoke Fifth in criminal investigation

Steve Korris Jul. 8, 2011, 7:00am


NEW ORLEANS – Three men who claimed orthopedic and emotional injuries from the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion seek protection from criminal investigations.

On June 29, Anthony Buzbee of Houston told U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier he made his clients available to an attorney who practices criminal law.

Buzbee wrote that Patrick Morgan, Christopher Haire and Micah Sandell spoke to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and gave statements at Coast Guard hearings.

"Based on the circumstances, and after much discussion, all three of these gentlemen intend to invoke their Fifth Amendment rights," he wrote.

"You might also want to know that all of these men have now settled their cases, and have either executed complete releases in favor of all parties, or are in the process of doing so," he wrote.

On July 1, he notified Magistrate Judge Sally Shushan that Morgan, Sandell, and five others settled claims against rig owner Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling.

A week earlier, Transcoean had asked Shushan to compel physical and mental examinations of all seven.

Buzbee wrote, "In light of the fact that these claimants have resolved their claims, any need for medical examinations is now moot and serves no purpose."

Shushan dismissed the motion as soon as Buzbee filed it, inviting Transocean to renew it if any claims aren't formally dismissed.

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