Environment Law – Court Awards $ 1M to Rowan Companies, Inc. Whistleblower for His Efforts to Stop Pollution in the Gulf of Mexico

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C.– LAWFUEL – Environment Legal Announcements–Richardson, Patrick, Westbrook & Brickman, LLC (RPWB), one of the largest plaintiff litigation firms in the United States, in conjunction with Robertson & Hollingsworth Attorneys at Law, and Kanner & Whiteley, LLC, announced today that the U.S. District Court in Beaumont, Texas has awarded the firm’s client a $1 million award for blowing the whistle on Rowan Companies, Inc., an oil and gas drilling company, for illegally dumping hazardous substances into the waters of the United States.

A former oil rig worker, Robert Daniel Marcy observed many instances of oil, hydraulic fluid and other pollutants being dumped from the Midland rig into the Gulf of Mexico. After his complaints went unheeded, he consulted with counsel and began documenting Rowan employees’ dumping activities on videotape and collected samples which were analyzed and confirmed to be pollutants. He also compiled a list of the names of individuals who could corroborate these actions.

After Mr. Marcy was terminated, his team of attorneys joined forces in an effort to halt the illegal dumping. Represented by David B. Marvel of Robertson & Hollingsworth, Robert M. Turkewitz and Matthew J. Thiesing of Richardson, Patrick, Westbrook & Brickman, LLC, and Conlee S. Whiteley of Kanner & Whiteley, LLC, Mr. Marcy and his counsel filed a Qui Tam action on behalf of the U.S. Government and laid out the case to the Department of Justice.

“Mr. Marcy’s determination to stop these environmental crimes deserves to be rewarded. This victory sends a positive signal to those who may be hesitant to speak up when a crime is being committed. Oil and gas drilling companies owe a duty to the public to operate in a proper manner and within federal guidelines,” said RPWB attorney Rob Turkewitz.

Attorney Marvel stated, “Because of the nature of this type of activity taking place offshore on ships it is literally almost impossible to detect. Mr. Marcy’s a good guy who did the right thing and I hope there are others out there like that.”

Mr. Marcy’s efforts resulted in a federal criminal prosecution and Rowan Companies, Inc. ultimately pleading guilty in October 2007 to three felonies related to discharge of hazardous substances and garbage from the company’s Midland oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Rowan Companies was ordered by the court to pay a $7 million criminal fine along with another $2 million fine to be paid to five state government enforcement organizations for environmental community service projects. After hearing the court’s order Mr. Marcy stated, “I just did the right thing and I hope others will too.”

Congress recognized the problems of illegal pollution and has made provisions for payment to any person giving information leading to a conviction under the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS), which is authorized under 22 U.S.C. 1908(a). Individuals working on oil rigs and ships who witness actions of pollution and are unable to stop such illegal activities should report the activities to the government and may be entitled to an award when the information supplied leads to an APPS conviction. Individuals who witness these activities and want to report these activities may want to contact counsel.

Richardson, Patrick, Westbrook & Brickman, LLC is one of the leading complex litigation firms in the country with extensive expertise in environmental toxic torts, asbestos, tobacco, securities fraud and other complex mass torts. The firm has locations in Charleston, Mount Pleasant and Barnwell, S.C. For more information, visit www.rpwb.com.

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