Maker of blow-out preventer wants Hayward's congressional testimony excluded

By Steve Korris | Nov 15, 2011


Testimony of former BP chief Tony Hayward before Congress shouldn't count as evidence in a trial allocating fault for the Deepwater Horizon explosion, according to blowout prevention contractor Cameron International.

On Nov. 7, Cameron lawyers urged U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier to reject a transcript of Hayward in Congress on June 17.

"Cameron objects to the admission of this testimony, and any other Congressional testimony related to the Macondo disaster," they wrote.

"Testimony of a witness before Congress or any of its committees or subcommittees tasked with investigating the Deepwater Horizon incident is hearsay," they wrote.

The attorneys also argue that the testimony of a witness subpoenaed to testify before Congress does not constitute factual findings of a public office or agency.

They wrote that parties to Barbier's proceedings weren't invited to the hearing and had no opportunity to cross-examine witnesses.

"Moreover, congressional hearings are often filled with inflammatory and politically charged statements that have no basis in the courts," they wrote.

Phillip Wittmann, Carmelite Bertaut, Keith Hall and Jared Davidson, all of Stone Pigman Walther Wittmann in New Orleans, filed the motion. David Beck, Joe Redden, David Jones and Geoffrey Gannaway, all of Beck, Redden and Secrest in Houston, also worked on it.

A plaintiff steering committee included the Hayward transcript on a list of exhibits for a trial Barbier plans to start in February.

The first phase of the trial will deal with loss of well control, a second will deal with the oil discharge and a third will deal with cleanup efforts.

Four defendants met a Nov. 7 deadline for motions to limit evidence. BP, Cameron, rig owner Transocean, and cement contractor Halliburton moved to exclude various reports from government and private investigations.

BP also moved to exclude evidence of prior proceedings and prior improper conduct that don't relate to Deepwater Horizon.

On Nov. 10, Barbier set a Nov. 21 deadline for responses.

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