Whistleblower sues inspection company after losing his job for complaining about falsified documents

Michelle Keahey Mar. 2, 2012, 3:43am

NEW ORLEANS - A whistleblower has filed a lawsuit against his former employer, claiming that he was terminated from his position after he complained about the company falsifying documents regarding oil tanks.

Scott M. Lee filed suit against Rosen USA Inc. on Jan. 11, 2012 in Plaquemines Parish District Court. The defendant removed the case to federal court in New Orleans on Feb. 7.

Lee was hired by Rosen as a Project Manager in December 2008. Lee states that as part of his employment he would lead a small group of Rosen employees in carrying out plant and terminal tank inspections, using specialized equipment to determine thickness of container tank walls, in tank terminals or at various refineries or storage facilities for the oil and gas industry.

Lee states that shortly after the start of his employment, he began to voice concerns to management regarding unsafe working conditions, lack of safety precautions, the use of uncertified inspection employees, and for the company not following its own procedures. Lee also claims that he learned that the company was falsifying documents regarding the integrity of tank wall thickness.

Meetings were called, but Lee states that the company ultimately did little, if anything, to address the issues.

After a year of employment, defendant Rosen allegedly told Lee that his position was being "eliminated" and offered Lee a severance package.

Lee argues that the defendant's actions constituted a breach of contract and were blatant violations of the Louisiana Environmental Whistleblower Statutes.

The plaintiff is asking for an award of lost wages, lost anticipated wage increases, lost benefits, physical and emotional damages, treble damages, interest and court costs.

Lee is represented by Jack E. Chappuis Jr., Francis J. Lobrano and W. Allen Schafer of the Law Office of Francis J. Lobrano in Belle Chasse. A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:12-cv-00376

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