Martin v. XTO Energy, Inc.
On February 11, 2008, Chris Martin, an oilfield worker, was struck by highly pressurized fluid that escaped from a well site in Tarrant County, Texas. The Maudie Walsh Roe B#1 well site was on property owned by XTO Energy, Inc. XTO had hired a company, Loma Rentals to provide flowback services and installation at this site. “Flowback” refers to process fluids that are collected at the surface after hydraulic operations are completed. The flowback equipment was provided by ARC Pressure Data. Although ARC stated that it was important that the provided equipment was installed correctly, they were instructed by a supervisor from XTO Energy to simply drop the equipment and allow Loma Rentals to install it. As part of this procedure, XTO also contracted with Chris Martin’s employer, Tucker Coil Tubing, to provide wire line services, including use of a mill tool to drill out bridge plugs. XTO Energy did not request information on how to install the flowback equipment or find out if Loma had the expertise and knowledge to perform this task.
Unfortunately, part of the flowback equipment was reversed during installation, which allowed a great deal of debris to flow in the lines and clog them. Throughout the rest of the day’s work, the lines continued to clog, and the XTO supervisor had them cleaned out repeatedly. Eventually, he asked Martin to remove the flow line from the casing valve in an attempt to bypass this problem. This required Martin to be in the line of pressurized fluid, gas and debris from the poorly installed casing valve. Although Martin double-checked the system, as he went to remove the flow line, a pressurized stream escaped the casing valve and knocked him into an adjacent crane assembly, fracturing his skull and causing serious injuries to his neck, shoulder, ribs, and lungs.
Martin was airlifted by Care Flight, who had trouble assessing his eyes due to the amount of sand, debris and blood in them. After Martin was examined by doctors it was discovered that he suffered an axonal shearing injury to his brain, resulting in cognitive deficits, mood and personality changes, and memory loss. Through the use of cutting-edge neuroradiology techniques, the axonal shear injury was objectively verified. John Jose, Partner at Slack Davis Sanger, who represented Mr. Martin in his lawsuit against several non-employer third parties working at the well site and negotiated a confidential settlement before the case went to trial.
Date of Incident
April 20, 2012
Location of Incident
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