Two Years after Ruling, BP Engineer Still Carries Burden of Prosecution
On April 20, 2010, BP rig supervisor Bob Kaluza tossed socks, work pants and boxer shorts into his small overnight bag which sat on his small bed inside his cabin on the behemoth Deepwater Horizon drilling rig. It was only 8:30pm but he was due to relieve the other rig supervisor, Donald Vidrine, at 2:30am, then fly back to Houma, LA later in the morning. Kaluza had been on the Deepwater Horizon for only four days after agreeing to take a 5-day shift for another BP well site leader who was, interestingly enough, attending an oil well-control class.
I spoke with Gregory Linsin, a partner at Blank Rome who is an expert in this area of maritime law. Even prior to the Yates Memo, which emphasized the importance of corporations providing full cooperation by disclosing all relevant factual information when they settled criminal matters, government prosecutors sought to identify and prosecute individuals who were at the heart of the criminal acts. "A company can only act through its employees, so it was not surprising that BP acknowledged the wrongdoing of certain of its employees in its plea agreement. What was unusual, was the way the government decided to charge after Kaluza and Vidrine."
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"Two Years after Ruling, BP Engineer Still Carries Burden of Prosecution," by Walter Pavlo was published in Forbes on January 8, 2018.