Former BP employee files whistleblower case concerning oil spill cleanup

Kyle Barnett Feb. 22, 2012, 9:14am

NEW ORLEANS – A former BP employee from St. Tammany Parish has filed a suit under the Louisiana Environmental Whistleblower Act in federal court claiming he was terminated over concerns he brought up in BP's oil spill cleanup effort following the Deepwater Horizon incident in 2010.

August Walter filed suit on Jan. 20 in the Eastern District of Louisiana against BP America Inc. Walter claims he was State Planning Lead for BP's Gulf Coast Restoration Organization during the oil spill crisis and that he was part of a group with oversight from the Coast Guard that developed a strategic cleanup plan.

The plaintiff claims the cleanup plan he developed was not accepted by BP who terminated him after he refused to falsify cleanup data and mislead the Coast Guard into believing the cleanup efforts were further along than what they actually were. Walter alleges that recommendations for shoreline treatment were not being met after he was informed by a BP employee who had engaged in picking up "tar balls," but was leaving smaller particulate matter behind.

The plaintiff asserts he had a duty to the shareholders of BP to report the sections of shoreline that were improperly cleaned and that after he informed authorities of the issues he was in multiple conflicts with BP administrators before ultimately being placed on leave and then terminated.

An unspecified amount in damages to include three years of lost wages and attorney's fees is sought by the plaintiff.

Walter is being represented by New Orleans-baseed attorneys James L. Arruebarrena and Rachel Martin-Deckelman.

The case has been assigned to U.S. Federal Judge Carl Barbier and U.S. Magistrate Sally Shushan.

Docket number 2:12-cv-00177-CJB-SS

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