Deepwater Horizon oil spill workers file class action for overtime wages

Michelle Keahey Jul. 13, 2012, 2:43am


NEW ORLEANS - Independent contractors who worked the Deepwater Horizon oil spill have filed a class action lawsuit against a response company for failing to pay overtime wages in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Daniel Himmerite, Scott Alter, David Singletary, Craig Newberry, and Robert Brinkmeier, on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated, filed suit against O'Brien's Response Management Inc. and I-Transit Response on June 15 in federal court in New Orleans.

O'Brien's Response mobilized thousands of employees to clean up the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, including using recruiting companies.

Defendant I-Transit was a recruiting company. According to the lawsuit, these employees often worked in excess of 12 hours per day, six to seven days per week. The employees state that they were not paid overtime wages, but were instead classified as independent contractors who were paid at a day rate.

The workers were fired and worked as independent contractors from June 2010 to early 2011, they say.

They signed a "Teaming Agreement" with I-Transit, in which they agreed to receive $300 per day and reimbursement of expenses..

The proposed class action will include all defendants' Deepwater Horizon oil spill cleanup workers who were classified as independent contractors, paid a day-rate, and worked more than 40 hours in at least one workweek without receiving overtime pay.

The workers are asking the court for an award of unpaid wages, overtime compensation, liquidated damages, attorneys' fees, court costs, and interest.

The plaintiffs are represented by Derrick Earles of Brian Caubarreaux & Associates in Marksville and David I. Moulton of Bruckner Burch in Houston. A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Carl J. Barbier is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:12-cv-01533

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