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Brent Coon & Associates has offices throughout the country, including Hub Offices in Beaumont and Houston, TX, Denver, CO and Los Angeles, CA. These Hub Offices, spanning all four time zones, serve as central nodes for BCA's vast legal network of associated law firms and allows BCA and its partner firms the ability to accept and try cases in any courthouse in the country. Click to view our offices >

Manslaughter charges dropped in BP spill case—nobody from BP will go to prison

by David Kravets

In April 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and began spewing oil into the US Gulf Coast. In all, this released some 134 million gallons of crude over a span of almost three months. Eleven workers were killed in the nation's worst offshore oil spill.

Today, federal prosecutors moved—and a judge agreed—to drop manslaughter charges against two supervisors aboard the Deepwater Horizon when it exploded. This development, in which prosecutors said they believed they no longer could meet the legal threshold for a conviction, means that nobody will go to prison for the disaster that soiled coastlines from Texas to Florida, killed nearly a dozen people, and was an environmental disaster that perhaps brings with it never-before-seen longterm consequences.

The government announced the legal move Wednesday in a New Orleans courtroom. Rig supervisor Donald Vidrine instead pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Water Act, a misdemeanor that likely will result in 10 months of probation and 100 hours of community service. Robert Kaluza, the other supervisor who also was being charged with 11 manslaughter counts, is going to fight a single misdemeanor charge that he also violated the Clean Water Act.

The government's decision was a complete reversal from three years ago when then-Attorney General Eric Holder personally announced the manslaughter charges in New Orleans. While BP as a company has agreed to pay billions in record-high legal settlements, the latest move follows a string of other setbacks in which the government sought to hold individuals accountable.

The father of Gordon Jones, a rig worker who died in the explosion, was unhappy with the government's decision.

"As a result of this court proceeding today, no man will ever spend a moment behind bars for killing 11 men for reasons based entirely on greed," Keith Jones told reporters after Wednesday's hearing.

The Justice Department said in a statement that it dropped the felony charges against the two "because circumstances surrounding the case have changed since it was originally charged, and after a careful review the department determined it can no longer meet the legal standard for instituting the involuntary manslaughter charges."

Other government setbacks in its case against BP include:

David Rainey, a former BP executive, was acquitted this summer of manipulating calculations over how much oil was being released during the 3-month-long spill, and a federal judge dismissed charges that he hindered a congressional investigation.

Kurt Mix, a former BP engineer, won a new trial in July after he was convicted of obstruction charges in connection to allegations that he deleted text messages detailing how much oil was spilling into the Gulf of Mexico. He was sentenced to six months probation after he pleaded guilty last month to a lesser charge.

And a former manager of Halliburton, which sold concrete to BP, got a year of probation after pleading guilty to a charge of destroying evidence.

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Attorney Brent Coon’s Response to Sen. Hancock’s Dangerous Harvey Misinformation Campaign

August 31, 2017, 1:14 pm

Shame on Senator Kelly Hancock for sending out a self-serving communication from his office this week stating that the law regarding the new hurricane and flood insurance laws WILL NOT change the claims process. It WILL change the process, and to the detriment of policy holders.   Why is he saying that?


Asbestos supervisor sues Motiva after fire erupts, Brent Coon handling case

August 20, 2017, 11:44 pm

An asbestos supervisor is suing Motiva Enterprises for injuries he suffered after a fire erupted.

Through Beaumont attorney Brent Coon, Joshual McElroy filed his suit Aug. 8 in Jefferson County District Court. Greg Lucchesi is also named as a defendant.


Brent Coon Named Litigator of the Week By Texas Lawyer

August 10, 2017, 12:51 pm

Brent Coon & Associates is proud to announce that BCA founder Brent Coon has been honored as Litigator of the Week by Texas Lawyer. This latest award for Mr. Coon comes on the heels of a $7,000,000 verdict against the Houston Independent School District (HISD).


HISD LOSES TWO BIG LAWSUITS IN SWEEPING 38 PAGE VERDICT

June 11, 2017, 3:21 pm

Jury hits HISD with over $7,000,000.00 in damages on one suit, and denies any recovery to HISD as a Plaintiff in their own $13 Million dollar lawsuit.  

A unanimous Houston jury told HISD they were wrong to breach five construction contracts with a local building contractor Friday evening after a full day of deliberations. In the same 38 page verdict, the jury also told HISD that their countersuit against the contractor, Fort Bend Mechanical, along with their bonding agent, Hanover Insurance, and yet a third defendant HISD sued for defective field testing of foundations had ZERO merit and awarded no damages against any of the three defendants and awarded zero legal costs to HISD.  Fort Bend Mechanical had sought almost $9 Million in damages at trial for what they alleged were multiple and repeated contract violations over the course of six construction jobs with the school district emanating from the 2007 School Bond, which had provided for almost a billion dollars in renovations to over 100 HISD campuses.  The jury of 7 women and 5 men agreed with most of the complaints asserted by Fort Bend Mechanical, and awarded damages and legal fees in excess of $7 million dollars in their verdict, which came in early Friday evening in the 151st Harris County District Court before Judge Michael Engelhart.


4 New Lawsuits Filed Over the Waco Biker Shooting

May 8, 2017, 11:56 pm

What does Patch Adams have to do with the Waco Biker shooting?

A lot.  The overzealous Waco Police Department clearly stumbled and bumbled through the debacle of the Waco motorcycle tragedy of May 2015 at the Twin Peaks restaurant in what is likely the worst police operation initiated by law enforcement in the history of Texas, including the fiasco of the Branch Davidian storming that killed dozens of innocent women and children outside of Waco over 20 years ago (which resulted in far more civilian casualties than the recent gas attacks by Assad of Syria).  James Harris, a college student in Austin and a devout motorcycle rider, was one of the 200 motorcycle club members from the region taking a relaxing ride to Waco on the morning of Sunday, May 17, 2015, to hear what was going on legislatively in the motorcycling community through a briefing sponsored by the Texas Confederation of Clubs and Independents.


Father of Worker Killed at PCA Plant Explosion Files Multimillion Dollar Suit.

May 2, 2017, 10:02 am

The father of one of the three workers killed in a packaging facility explosion two months ago has now filed suit in Houston.  He explains his feelings and relationship with his son, facts known about the incident to date, and what he hopes to achieve with the lawsuit.  His attorney, Brent Coon of Houston, elaborates on the incident and expresses concern for the possible closing of the CSB, which is charged with investigating fatal chemical explosions across America, something that could significantly change industrial facility operations and increase safety and health risk factors. More details are below, and the office can be contacted for further information on this breaking story


Houston Police Department caught red-handed illegally engaging in a home invasion and covering it up by destroying security system: Damages Suit filed by Law Firm for Homeowner

March 3, 2017, 9:34 am

In one of the most egregious examples of police excess and violation of law perpetrated by HPD in recent times, two separate security systems from two different homeowners caught an HPD police officer and another uniformed officer illegally break into a Harris County home, destroy their surveillance system, illegally search the home with no one there, illegally go through their mail, and leave the home with the door open before the homeowners arrived back to their residence.


Jury Awards War Hero Over 1 Million Dollars

November 9, 2016, 3:22 pm

Today a jury verdict was returned regarding a lawsuit filed against Woven Metal Products, Inc. on behalf of Jacob Matthew Cadriel, who was killed on the job by a co-worker, Steven Damien Young.  This tragic incident took place on April 1, 2015. On that date and on Woven Metal Products, Inc.’s workplace premises, co-worker Steven Damien Young reached into his waistband, pulled out a 38-caliber handgun and shot and killed Jacob.  Young was arrested and charged with murder, and is now serving a 45 year sentence.


Deepwater Horizon Film Puts Spotlight on Disaster

October 3, 2016, 5:11 pm

The motion picture depicting the 2010 Gulf oil spill hits theaters nationwide this weekend.  So what, if anything, has changed since the Deepwater Horizon blast killed 11 oil rig workers?

Attorney Brent Coon represented one of the workers who escaped the rig; he hopes the film brings more attention to what really happened and how little regulation there is in the drilling industry still today.


Used cars with recalls being sold with 'no open recalls'

August 17, 2016, 8:49 am

Buying a used car instead of a new one almost always makes good economic sense, unless you end up in Ann Nogast's old 2011 Honda Pilot.

"Because it's going to be some innocent family that ends up the next possible fatality," Nogast said.



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Other BCA Websites
Brent Coon Websites

BCA has created these dedicated websites for our prospective clients.

The History of Asbestos
America's workers are suffering from number of asbestos related diseases because of corporate greed. Watch the documentary now.

Lung Cancer Fact
Lung Cancer Fact is dedicated to providing you with the lung cancer causes, lung cancer types, and lung cancer facts.

Gulf Coast Disaster
A resource dedicated to those impacted by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig Explosion

FELA 411
Provides railroad workers with extensive information about their legal rights and the proper process of filing a FELA claim after suffering an injury on the job.

Texas City Explosion
View evidence, video and declassified documents as they are released stemming from the BP Texas City Explosion.

BCA Mortgage Fraud
The mortgage industry has recently reached a settlement with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Federal Reserve that created a multi-billion dollar fund to pay damages to victims of mortgage fraud. BCA is fighting to undo the wrongs, keeping people in their homes and getting a recovery for those who were cheated.

Defective Guardrail Lawsuits
BCA is investigating accident lawsuits regarding defective guardrails in which Trinity Industries used cost cutting measures to risk people's lives. A recent whistleblower lawsuit shows ties between defective guardrails to an increase chance of injury and death.

BCA Testosterone Lawsuits
BCA is investigating Low T or Testosterone Therapy products Lawsuits. Studies have linked products like AndroGel to an increased risks of Heart Attack and Strokes

GM Recall Lawsuits
BCA is investigating General Motors Recall lawsuits involving the mass recall of vehicles due to faulty ignitions.

Cell Phone Cancer Lawsuits
BCA is investigating Cell Phone Lawsuits after studied link cell phone use to an increased risk of Cancer.

Petrochemical Law
When it comes to Petrochemical Law, we are the experts. Nationally known, a partner with the US Government, turned to by the media, trusted by the labor organizations.

Porter Ranch Gas Leak Lawsuits
BCA is investigating loss of revene lawsuits for local businesses due to the Porter Ranch Gas Leak.

BCA Business Services
Brent Coon and Associates wants to be your go-to law plaintiff law firm for any business related litigation needs your company may be facing.

BCA Alternative Dispute Resolution
BCA now offers high end mediation and arbitration as part of our dispute resolutions services.
A website created for the press to follow all the latest developments in BCA vs. BP.

National Attorney Network
This website is a service for our referring counsel designed to assist in the client retaining process.

Sunoco Fire Lawsuit
A Legal Resource Dedicated to the Victims of the Sunoco Explosion Tragedy

Flight Attorney
BCA's Aviation Law Focus has a proven track record for handling complex, multi-party aviation cases and claims.

Auto Rollover
The team at Brent Coon and Associates knows when a vehicle rollover or the resulting injury is caused by the shortcomings in the design of the vehicle.

Chamber Sentry
The Institute for Legal Reform is trying to close your court house doors. Learn what you can do to help.

Remember the 15
Join BCA as we push a landmark bill through the Texas House & Senate.

My Safety Rights
A website created and dedicated to helping protect women's safety rights.

PharmAttorney.com
Legal Rights resources for those who have suffered from dangerous pharmaceutical drugs including Xarelto Lawsuits .

Crane Failures
Looking at the reasons behind the recent surge in Crane accidents including news stories, statistics and commentary from industry experts.

Pillot Building
A website dedicated to the historic Pillot Building located in the heart of downtown Houston. Its sophisticated design and ambiance makes it the perfect place to host meetings, fundraisers and celebrations.

Top Maritime Lawyers
Learn more about The Jones Act and Maritime & Admiralty Law from our team of attorneys.

BCA Biker Rights
BCA's Biking community website. Find legal resources related to motorcycle enthusiasts.

IVC Filter Lawsuits
There have been recent studies that suggest that IVC Filters which are used to prevent pulmonary embolism are breaking have shards of metal travel throughout the body at an alarming rate. Learn if you qualify for an IVC Filter Lawsuit.



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