Appeals court: Judge was right to nix oilfield death suit

By The Associated Press

An appeals court has upheld a judge's decision to throw out a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of a South Dakota man who was killed in an accident in the North Dakota oil patch five years ago.

 

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — An appeals court has upheld a judge's decision to throw out a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of a South Dakota man who was killed in an accident in the North Dakota oil patch five years ago.

Fifty-two-year-old Joseph Kronberg, of Bison, South Dakota, was electrocuted in May 2011 when he stepped onto a metal grate that had come in contact with a punctured electrical cord and puddle of water. The accident happened outside a "change shack" for the Nabors Drilling oil rig.

The complaint by Kronberg's survivors accused Oasis Petroleum, RPM Consulting and others of negligence. Oasis Petroleum obtained property rights for the well and RPM Consulting provided Oasis with engineering support and subcontractors to oversee drilling.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland of North Dakota ruled in Feburary 2015 that Oasis Petroleum and RPM Consulting were not liable under North Dakota law, after which the family dropped claims against others involved with the rig. The family filed their appeal in March 2015, asserting that the companies owed Kronberg "a duty of care."

A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in a ruling released Friday that there's no evidence the companies had control over the property.

The panel said the metal grate and generator that powered the cord was owned by Nabors Drilling, not Oasis Petroleum. Nabors Drilling was fined for violating Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations in connection with Kronberg's death.

The circuit judges also noted that neither Oasis Petroleum nor RPM Consulting issued day-to-day instructions regarding the operation of the well, and the companies could not be held liable for the alleged negligence other subcontractors.

Did You Like this Article? Get All the Energy Industry News Delivered to Your Inbox

Subscribe to an email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest news and information.

 Subscribe Now

Whitepapers

Making DDoS Mitigation Part of Your Incident Response Plan: Critical Steps and Best Practices

Like a new virulent strain of flu, the impact of a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack is...

The Multi-Tax Challenge of Managing Excise Tax and Sales Tax

To be able to accurately calculate multiple tax types, companies must be prepared to continually ...

Operational Analytics in the Power Industry

Cloud computing, smart grids, and other technologies are changing transmission and distribution. ...

Maximizing Operational Excellence

In a recent survey conducted by PennEnergy Research, 70% of surveyed energy industry professional...

Latest Energy Jobs

View more Job Listings >>

Archived Articles

PennEnergy Articles
2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013

OGJ Articles
2011 | 2012 | 2013

OGFJ Articles
2011 | 2012 | 2013

Power Engineering Articles
2011 | 2012 | 2013

Power Engineering Intl Articles
2011 | 2012 | 2013

Utility Products Articles
2011 | 2012 | 2013

HydroWorld Articles
2011 | 2012 | 2013

COSPP Articles
2011 | 2012 | 2013

ELP Articles
2011 | 2012 | 2013