Truck stop facility sues BP for not capping oil well

Michelle Keahey Aug. 26, 2011, 4:33am

A Louisiana company that was in the process of building a truck stop facility has filed a lawsuit against BP for failing to properly cap an oil wellhead which allegedly resulted in delayed construction and increased environmental cleanup costs.

Redman Gaming of Louisiana filed suit against Pan American Petroleum Corp., BP America Production Co. and BP America Inc. on July 12 in Jefferson Parish District Court. The defendant removed the case to federal court in New Orleans on Aug. 10.

The property at issue is located in Westwego in Jefferson Parish and was purchased by Redman in October 2009. Redman states it was not until July 2010 that it discovered an improperly capped and leaking oil wellhead located on the property during cleaning and grading operations. The wellhead is located where Redman planned to construct a parking lot.

Redman contacted the Department of Natural Resources, who issued a compliance order to the defendants. The defendants capped the oil wellhead in early 2011, which was six months after the notice was provided.

The defendants are accused of trespass on Redman's property by allowing toxic and hazardous substance to migrate from their production facilities onto the surface of the property and negligence for failing to properly cap the wellhead in the first place and failing to properly address and correct the leak once they were notified of it.

The plaintiff is asking for damages for work site expenses, increased construction material costs, employees' time, environmental consultant fees, interest, court costs and attorney's fees.

Redman Gaming is represented by Thomas M. Benjamin and Wesley M. Plaisance of Lemle & Kelleher in New Orleans. A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Ivan L. R. Lemelle is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:11-cv-01925

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