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  • Writer's pictureKirk Hartley

Oil Drilling Devices and Toxic Tort Litigation

Oil drilling devices are amazing. Some are moveable and go around the world, sometimes with the same people. Some were or are centers for toxic tort exposures, for multiple reasons. They are going to keep lawyers in business for years to come, and with some fascinating legal issues, such as choice of law. Here’s one set of issues recently considered by a Texas appellate court. Hat tip to LAW360 for flagging the case.

Set out below is the basic fact pattern, as provided by LAW360. It proves once again that corporate m & a is good for trial lawyers on all sides:

"A trial court had ruled that Diamond’s predecessor didn’t assume the asbestos liabilities with its purchase and granted the company summary judgment, but the Fourteenth Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the decision, saying a section of the agreement that addresses employee injury claims doesn’t explain when the injuries are considered to have occurred and consequently, trigger liability.

In 1989, Diamond’s predecessor bought several assets from the predecessor of Kaneb Management Co. LLC, including six oil drilling rigs according to court documents, which call the predecessors “Diamond” and "Kaneb.”

Some of Kaneb’s employees continued to work for Diamond after the sale, and they were called “hired employees” in the agreement. Kaneb employees who did not work for Diamond after the sale were simply called “employees” in the agreement.

After the purchase, some of these so-called employees sued Diamond for personal injuries they allegedly suffered from asbestos exposure while they worked for Kaneb."

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