The Empathetic Corporate Person

This is obscene:

According to two surviving crew members of the Deepwater Horizon, oil workers from the rig were held in seclusion on the open water for up to two days after the April 20 explosion, while attorneys attempted to convince them to sign legal documents stating that they were unharmed by the incident. The men claim that they were forbidden from having any contact with concerned loved ones during that time, and were told they would not be able to go home until they signed the documents they were presented with.

Stephen Davis, a seven-year veteran of drilling-rig work from San Antonio, told The Guardian’s Suzanne Goldenberg today that he was held on a boat for 36 to 40 hours after diving into the Gulf from the burning rig and swimming to safety. Once on a crew boat, Davis said, he and the others were denied access to satellite phones or radio to get in touch with their families, many of whom were frantic to find out whether or not they were OK.

Davis’ attorney told Goldenberg that while on the boat, his client and the others were told to sign the statements presented to them by attorneys for Transocean — the firm that owned the Deepwater Horizon — or they wouldn’t be allowed to go home. After being awake for 50 harrowing hours, Davis caved and signed the papers. He said most of the others did as well.

The magic of the free market. Of course, if companies were not under such extreme pressures from evil regulators and greedy trial lawyers, they would not have to go to such extreme lengths.

/glibertarian asshole






88 replies
  1. 1
  2. 2
    Ash Can says:

    Hats off to these guys for speaking out to the press now, though. It’s good to see that Transocean’s bullying tactics weren’t entirely successful.

  3. 3
    Nutella says:

    I’m glad to hear the guy has a lawyer and I hope he does everything possible to take Transocean down, including reporting to the police that they kidnapped him (which they did).

    And we need some congressional hearings with TV cameras.

  4. 4
    WereBear says:

    If they were coerced into signing, the contracts are not binding. Going public would be the first step in establishing that.

    It’s all part of “corporations are people” thinking; in this case, simple self defense. What is truly worrisome is that the “corporate people” are psychopaths.

  5. 5
    JAHILL10 says:

    Yeah, I am afraid no one told Transocean that documents signed by kidnapped people who are coerced by being told they can never go home don’t really stand up in court. Dicks.

    What did they do the family members of those killed on the rig? Drive to their house and kidnap them until they signed papers too?

  6. 6
    chrome agnomen says:

    how can transoceanic think that this would not come out? or that these “sigh ze papers” tactics will hold up?

    strange times. /understatement

  7. 7

    Only slightly OT:

    http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-.....ou_by.html

    An excellent essay by Bob Marshall of The Times-Picayune saying that the disaster was caused by deregulation.

  8. 8
    Mudge says:

    Any lawyer who suggested such coercion should be disbarred for incompetence. The only aspect of all of this that workers could meaningfully address is the question of negligence and I do believe use of coercion like this to suppress evidence of a crime is in itself a crime.

  9. 9
    scav says:

    I remember reading this earlier because it was the origin of my whole the lawyers sprang into action faster than the team dealing with the actual well line of sheer rage. Their only emergency plans seemed to involve leaks to the press and protection from lawsuits rather than freaking oil leaks and protecting the rest of the world against their g-d wells. Good that it’s getting out to a larger audience.

  10. 10

    Well, um. You see, there was an explosion so we thought they might have been terrorists but we didn’t want to ship them to Gitmo so we just uh … held on to them and didn’t let them sleep or call their families until they signed these papers.

    But, wait, listen! We meant to give them a statement affirming that they weren’t terrorists so they wouldn’t go to Gitmo. But, somehow, completely by accident, we gave them the waiver instead and no one noticed. I mean, they workers didn’t notice. And. Well, these things happen, right? I mean imagine how tired our legal team was! Out in the middle of the Gulf, working on these guys round the clock, and that boat was smelly!

    So you see, just a big misunderstanding.

  11. 11
    Tim O says:

    Were Bear’s right, they signed the contract under duress. Even if they didn’t hold them, it was done immediately after a major disaster.

  12. 12

    This was kidnapping and coercion. They and their bosses are guilty of conspiracy. The people who had physical possession of the workers are guilty of kidnapping. The jerks who were saying “Sign or never go home” are also guilty of coercion.

    All of these crimes carry prison sentences. I think it’s time to bring in the orange suits.

    I don’t care if they were “just following orders” or not. The malefactors may have been in danger of losing their jobs but they were not in danger of losing their lives. They were responsible for their actions.

    And if they say they didn’t know what they did was wrong, perhaps we should offer them custodial care behind locked doors. For a long time.

  13. 13
    MattF says:

    As noted above, this is just flat-out intimidation and coercion. Besides being unenforceable in law, it’s hard to see how an oil company would dare to sue workers for telling their stories publicly– as long as attention is being paid.

  14. 14
    russell says:

    And we need some congressional hearings with TV cameras.

    As an alternative, we could take every person involved in this, from the low level pukes who held the workers up to and including Transocean C-level management and the members of the board, throw them into a burning ocean, and tell them we weren’t going to fish them out until they gave every one of the workers they held a million bucks in crisp new Franklins.

    Then we could fish them out and put their asses in jail.

    The money can come out of their lobbying budget, and Congress can pound sand.

  15. 15
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Mudge: Unfortunately, the corporate lawyers who wrote the papers weren’t incompetent; dumb, yes but not incompetent. They were playing the odds that the workers wouldn’t talk. They were taking the chance that the contracts will be upheld because the workers wouldn’t be able fight the contracts. This is a standard belief among corporate lawyers for such companies. They were doing what the companies want them to do.

    kommrade reproductive vigor is quite correct in his supposition of how the lawyers and pr flakes think.

    The companies are psychopathic.

  16. 16
    scav says:

    @PurpleGirl: no, I’m not buying the companies are psychopaths line. That lets actual people off the hook. It provides easy emotional cover for the actual gits that made the decisions.

  17. 17
    Honus says:

    You really need to think like a BP lawyer. They’ve got a signed waiver. Of course, it was signed under duress and is unenforceable, but you’ve got to prove duress, in court, with first-hand, non-hearsay evidence. Probably at least a year or two from now. Against a platoon of real expensive lawyers. In front of a federal judge, probably appointed by a Bush or Reagan.
    Practice law for 20 years or so and you will get skeptical about voiding notarized agreements over nebulous things like “duress”

  18. 18
    WereBear says:

    @scav: Well, the companies are psychopathic because they are being run by psychopaths. That’s becoming more and more obvious, and we should do something about it.

    Psychopaths always commit crimes; there’s a good place to start.

    I was doing a bit of internet research and ran across an account by a former drug company employee. He or she related that a breakthrough had occurred; the drugs for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) were able to be made more cheaply than before.

    One faction wanted to lower the price; another faction argued against it, saying that, and I quote: “Neighbors will do garage sales to pay for someone’s meds.”

  19. 19
    D. Mason says:

    So, let me get this straight… If companies are people – does that also mean that companies can be charged with kidnapping and have their boards be sent up the river for 25-L ?

  20. 20
    Honus says:

    @MattF: You’ve obviously never lived near the coal fields and viewed the arrogance of an energy operator firsthand.

  21. 21
    scav says:

    @WereBear: totally agree, but we can’t leave human agency out of the dialog because humans are the only entities that can actually change the situation. Until individuals own up to the fact that they are enabling, promoting, enforcing, blah blah blah blah blah this shit than nothing will happen. We have met the Invisible Free Hand of the Market and it is us. Certainly, some of us play bigger roles than others. I would vastly enjoy a Nuremberg trial on some of this shit.

  22. 22
    Quiddity says:

    I don’t see what John’s objection is here. This is just how “the market” works in a libertarian paradise. If the employees didn’t want to be subjected to kidnapping and high-pressure intimidation, they could have worked on an oil rig that didn’t discriminate at the lunch counter.

    Of course, I personally disagree with kidnapping and would not take my business to that particular offshore rig, but hey, accidents happen.

  23. 23
    Mike Kay says:

    This is like the young women who was gang raped while working in Iraq as a contractor for Halliburton and then after reporting the attack she was placed in a shipping container and denied access to phones.

    But as randle Paul says, “sometimes accidents just happen”.

  24. 24

    @Quiddity: Oh! You capture Rand Paul so well!

  25. 25
    PurpleGirl says:

    @D. Mason: That should be what happens but I doubt that it will.

  26. 26
    RAM says:

    Couldn’t these guys file a complaint with the cops stating they were held against their will?

  27. 27
    Nutella says:

    @D. Mason:

    And we’ve got capital punishment for companies, too, right? Which could be

    1. We shut down the company and sell all their assets, or
    2. The board of directors, CEO and COO all get the chair.

  28. 28
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Nutella: (with a little updating for the technology)

    From your keyboard to God’s eyes.

  29. 29
    scav says:

    Bother, gotta run to go sit on some babies. Try to bring down the free-market while I’m gone. No pressure: you’ve got until late Monday (those are going to be very very flat kids).

  30. 30
    tesslibrarian says:

    All Things Considered covered this story on May 6. They have a copy of the waiver on their site.

    But I don’t get to hear ATC regularly, so I don’t know if they’ve done follow-up stories or not. We heard it on our way to the Georgia coast, so didn’t listen to news for the next several days. I do hear their heathers-hosted shows more often (primarily Morning Edition), and I can’t recall hearing them cover it, but that isn’t exactly a surprise.

  31. 31
    DJMurphy says:

    I know it would be illegal for our military to seize every BP asset they could get their hands on but so was the invasion of Iraq.

    And speaking of bridges crossed, isn’t there some nice cells in Guantanamo for BP execs? Scratch that, at Bagram.

  32. 32
  33. 33
    russell says:

    OK, there’s legal world and real world.

    Real world, corporations are not people. Real live natural human beings made the decision to hold these guys in isolation, not let them talk to their families, and tell them they weren’t getting back to dry land until they signed.

    In the real world, the purpose of limited liability corporations is to encourage the formation of capital by limiting any investor’s loss to only the capital they’ve invested. Limited liability doesn’t mean anything you do in the name of the corporation is above the law.

    In the real world, the folks who held these guys are spineless fucks who spend their days living out the reality of the banality of evil.

    These guys were kidnapped and pressured under extraordinary duress to sign legal documents. The people who did that were no better than mafiosi. And I’m talking about everybody from the hands-on creeps on the boats up the chain of command to the freaking board.

    These people are sociopaths. They will never change their behavior until they are forced to be responsible and accountable for their decisions and actions, and until they pay for those decisions and actions in a coin they value.

    Their freedom, their property, their privileged position.

    The cure is to hit these guys with jail, extreme financial penalties, and the loss of the privilege to hold positions of any responsibility whatsoever.

    Kick them in the fucking nuts until they feel it. Until that happens, they will do this shit over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over again. Because it makes them money, and money is what they love.

    Kick them in the nuts until they get the message. Lather rinse and repeat until it’s clear to all parties concerned that that’s the way it’s going to be from now on.

    If we as a society can’t figure out a way to do that, we are going to live at the mercy of people who are happy to fuck us from here to kingdom come if it means they can have a lot of money. They’ll do it and smile.

  34. 34
    Mr Furious says:

    If nobody goes to jail for this I’m going to throw myself off a burning oil rig. Beyond obscene.

  35. 35
    mai naem says:

    Well, it is unamerican to criticize transocean and BP. That’s what Doctor Rand Paul told me. Also too, this is excellent news for President John McCain.

  36. 36
    Dog is My Co-Pilot says:

    Makes me sick. Isn’t that about as sleazy as it can get? Good for these guys for speaking out.

  37. 37
    Dog is My Co-Pilot says:

    Oh, and now that the oil is soaking delicate wetlands areas along the Louisiana coast, wasn’t it Brit Hume on Fox News that says, “Where’s the oil?” Complete and utter idiot.

  38. 38
    El Cid says:

    If you libruls didn’t hate America, you would see that this is how all employment negotiations should go.

  39. 39
    El Cid says:

    For what it’s worth, international oil companies really do operate much as if they were their own conquering imperial empires, dabbling with native lives and the rulers of nations as they wish, overthrowing them (or hiring the services of some government to do so) when convenient, so it’s not too surprising they are a little harsh with the help sometimes.

  40. 40
    Poopyman says:

    @Mr Furious:

    If nobody goes to jail for this I’m going to throw myself off a burning oil rig. Beyond obscene.

    Well that makes no sense. Now if you said you were throwing a TA or BP exec or lawyer off a burning rig, well that makes sense.

  41. 41
    BethanyAnne says:

    John, did you see that the open thread a couple of topics down broke? I was going to comment with a link to a neat tomato seed site. :)

  42. 42
    tim says:

    Isn’t kidnaping a crime?

    As others have commented above, these bullshit contracts, signed under duress and coercion, are worthless.

  43. 43
    Phoebe says:

    @chrome agnomen: Is that supposed to be a German accent? “sigh ze papers”? I ask this not as an offended German [I’m neither], but because I used to think “we have ways of making you talk” to be something said also in a German voice, but I can’t really do that anymore. Everybody sucks, not just the Nazis. It’s nice and egalitarian, at least.

  44. 44
    BethanyAnne says:

    Guess I could do that here, too. It’s O/T, but that didn’t stop me earlier :)
    Tom Betz recommended it last year in this thread:
    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2.....nt-1341151

    It’s Tomatogrowers.com. I bought 5 different types of seeds from them this year. We’ll see how they do – I was really late getting them into the ground here in Houston. The Virginia Sweets seem to be taking off, so I should at least get some from that plant. :)

  45. 45
    Tara the antisocial social worker says:

    Everyone involved with this needs to go to prison for kidnaping, false imprisonment, and any other charges that can be added on. If the cost is merely financial, they simply treat the fines as the cost of doing business. The same goes for the mining companies who cut corners on safety: you’re not just going to pay a fine, you’re going to rot in prison, and all your lovely cash won’t get you out.

  46. 46
    El Cid says:

    @tim: Kidnapping is only a crime when black or brown people do it, not corporate executives. For the executives, it’s probably time for another round of bonuses.

  47. 47
    The Sphynx says:

    Others above have it right, the contracts will likely be void for duress. Restatement 2nd 176 says a contract is voidable if a party’s manifestation of assent is induced by an improper threat by the other party that leaves the victim no reasonable alternative. A threat is improper when a) What is threatened is a crime or a tort (see below part 2) b) What is threatened is a criminal prosecution c) What is threatened is the use of the civil process in bad faith d) The threat is a breach of the duty of fair dealing under a contract with the recipient or e) The threat is improper if the resulting exchange is not on fair terms and the threatened act (continued isolation) would harm the recipient and not significantly benefit the one making the threat.

    Looks like they would have a colorable case on d) and e) certainly, but as others have pointed out, a) might be possible. The workers would have to establish that a tort has been committed, which in this case wouldn’t be kidnapping but rather UNLAWFUL IMPRISONMENT. We need more facts to determine whether this occurred although if they were indeed being held on a Transocean/BP vessel offshore this helps the workers dramatically as some of the analysis of unlawful imprisonment turns on the availability of escape.

  48. 48
    Phoebe says:

    Apart from the kidnapping/false imprisonment [not that this isn’t a big deal], there needs to be a penalty for even trying this shit. As somebody up there said, the lawyers know a contract signed under duress is unenforceable, they just do it hoping the person who signed it doesn’t. If the person who signed it gets a lawyer, game over, but hey, it was worth a try.

    It has to be not worth a try. Not just because of the pain & suffering of the person [and person’s loved ones etc.] badgered into something he doesn’t want to do a moment of insane stress, but because it sometimes works. When it works, people are defrauded of their rights. And they get away with it countless times when nobody tells.

    This is attempted fraud.

  49. 49
    WereBear says:

    @El Cid: True, that, and corporations can, and do, things to employees that would be crimes if they did it to some random stranger.

  50. 50
    Don says:

    You really need to think like a BP lawyer. They’ve got a signed waiver. Of course, it was signed under duress and is unenforceable, but you’ve got to prove duress, in court, with first-hand, non-hearsay evidence. Probably at least a year or two from now.

    Right. Whether something will stand up over the long haul is a lower concern when you’ve got an army of lawyers. The folks challenging the validity have to finance that battle.

  51. 51
    Brandon says:

    If this story holds up, there are any number of criminal penalties involved, including kidnapping, conspiracy and extortion. In addition, any attorney involved should be disbarred.

    Oddly enough, if we want to know what Dr. Rand Paul thinks about all of this, we have an answers. Hayek defined ‘coercion’ as “control of the environment or circumstances of a person by another that, in order to avoid greater evil, he is forced to act not according to a coherent plan of his own but to serve the ends of another”. You see? This kidnapping business is all in the service of avoiding a greater evil, litigation.

    I know, I jest. This is turning Hayek on his head, but so what?

  52. 52
    D. Mason says:

    @Nutella:


    And we’ve got capital punishment for companies, too, right? Which could be

    1. We shut down the company and sell all their assets, or
    2. The board of directors, CEO and COO all get the chair.

    Fixt

  53. 53
    Alex S. says:

    Wow, corporate torture.

  54. 54
    Dee Loralei says:

    Don’t forget that TransOcean just decided on a huge stock payout of a billion dollars at their annual shareholders meeting last week. If they pay it out, their pockets will be a little less deep when these kidnapped employees and their attys come a callin’. And last week they ( TransOcean) just filed some motion in Houston to limit their liability to 28 million based on some old 18th century maritime law.

    Who ever said it up top about the PR flacks and attorneys being faster and more on the ball than the folks tasked with fixing the mess was quite right.

    But corporations by there very nature are supposed to be psychopaths. I don’t know why we are constantly suprised when they behave in a psychopathic manner. Until the laws are changed in re corps, they will continue to behave in this way. We need to get Franken or Feingold or Bernie Sanders to make the board of directors, the top levels on employees and major stock holders criminally liable for what companies do, then we’ll see a change in the nature of corporations.

  55. 55
    Leah says:

    What everybody else has said.

    Love John’s framing in his post. Yes indeed. If we should worry about empathetic Justices on SCOTUS, should we not worry about psychotic global corporations who wield the actual power the right-wing is always so worried will be invested in left-wing dreams of global governance?

    If someone mentions this documentary while I”m writing this comment, forgive me, but so far as I’ve read there’s been no such citing.

    If you haven’t seen “The Corporation” get it from Netflex or from somewhere. It’s central metaphor is precisely to treat the modern international corporation as a “person,” and to diagnose it’s personality (disorder) as that of the psychopathic personality, i.e, not only the individuals who run them, its structure, philosophy, its very charters and their legal obligations are completely consistent with the same diagnosis most serial killers conform to.

  56. 56
    gopher2b says:

    If this is true, they should be disbarred.

  57. 57
    gopher2b says:

    @Honus:

    You really need to think like a BP lawyer.

    The article says that they were Transocean lawyers, not BP.

  58. 58
    Phoebe says:

    @Leah: thanks for the recommendation, I haven’t seen it and now I want to. I sort of vaguely thought it was a fiction movie and might have confused it with “The Devil Wears Prada” which would explain the previous lack of interest.

  59. 59
    MBSS says:

    i think i’m going to have to change my position on corporate persons from amoral to positively immoral. it’s not so much that in their rapacious greed and never ending lust for growth they ignore those who “must” be trampled and shunted, but more like there is some sort of sadistic pleasure in the flexing of muscles and political heft, and squashing all the little people that are in the way.

    we are all going to have to unite in a collectivist scene from “gulliver’s travels,” and pulls these monsters to the earth until they eat dirt, and taste the shit and trash with which they have polluted our country and world.

  60. 60
    Bullsmith says:

    This is out and out criminal. The papers they signed are evidence of kidnapping and extortion. The lawyers and the people who held them captive should be in fucking jail. As cynical as I am, I did not believe you could forcibly confine someone in the USA and then just get away with it.

  61. 61
    PeakVT says:

    Would this be a federal offense since the kidnapping occurred offshore in non-territorial waters?

  62. 62
    Mr Furious says:

    How does the DoJ get involved here? Can they? It’s bullshit if the defrauded workers and their legal team have to carry the weight on this. There must be some way they can step in and freeze that stock payout and hammer TransOcean based on a civil rights violation on top of everything else.

  63. 63
    Mr Furious says:

    Would this be a federal offense since the kidnapping occurred offshore in non-territorial waters?

    Refer these fuckers to The Hague!

  64. 64
    tavella says:

    @Honus: You really need to think like a BP lawyer. They’ve got a signed waiver. Of course, it was signed under duress and is unenforceable, but you’ve got to prove duress, in court, with first-hand, non-hearsay evidence. Probably at least a year or two from now. Against a platoon of real expensive lawyers. In front of a federal judge, probably appointed by a Bush or Reagan.

    Precisely. Once you have the waiver, no matter what shit you pulled to force them to sign, all the effort is on the plaintiff’s side. They have to spend a lot of money to have any chance at all, and you have the best lawyers money can buy.

  65. 65
    sukabi says:

    I believe that’s called kidnapping.

    And any document they signed isn’t legally binding as they were forced to do it.

    If there isn’t already (and there isn’t), there should be criminal charges brought against those folks that detained the workers and forced their signatures… Kidnapping, false imprisonment, intimidation… and that’s just for what they were subjected to AFTER the explosion.

    There’s probably a bunch of charges that could be brought for reckless endangerment, unsafe working conditions, ect…

  66. 66
    bjacques says:

    If at least one of them had held out, he could have asked his cow-orkers to notify his loved ones and the media that he was effectively held prisoner. On the other hand, if they signed, they’d probably leave him high and dry.

  67. 67
  68. 68
    WereBear says:

    And another factor is if the prisoner ever wants to be employed in that field again…

  69. 69
    Ed Drone says:

    @tavella:

    Once you have the waiver, no matter what shit you pulled to force them to sign, all the effort is on the plaintiff’s side.

    Actually, since we’re talking criminal, not civil court, I don’t think the bastards would be so sanguine about their chances.

    Ed

  70. 70
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    I was surprised to read this, as I’d understood it was the Coast Guard who originally kept the crew isolated while it sought statements on the incident.

    So I ran a quick Google and found this response from Transocean:

    U.S. Coast Guard, as on-scene incident command, not Transocean, in control of rescue vessel: All decisions aboard the rescue boat, the Damon Bankston, were made solely by the Coast Guard and all efforts to transport crew members from the rig to shore were coordinated by the Coast Guard according to standard maritime procedures. The Company’s immediate concern was to account for all those aboard the rig and to search for those 11 men who were ultimately determined lost. All decisions aboard the rescue boat were made solely by the Coast Guard, including the length of time crew members were kept at sea, the final destination port and the decision not to allow them use of the satellite phones aboard the boat. Those crew members who were critically injured were immediately transported by Medevac to the appropriate medical facilities. All actions taken by the Coast Guard were consistent with those taken during other emergency actions at sea.

    Transocean did not present incident response forms when crew members arrived at shore: The rescue ship arrived at Port Fourchon approximately 27 hours after the incident. Contrary to several erroneous reports, there was no distribution of any incident response forms on behalf of Transocean to the crew members at that time. Upon arrival at Port Fourchon, crew members were given an opportunity to leave, however, were encouraged to accept transportation to the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Kenner, Louisiana.

    Crew members were offered medical care, rooms and opportunity to go home upon arrival at hotel: The Crowne Plaza Hotel was used as a central location for the crew members and their families with the goal of meeting all of their personal and medical needs and of obtaining as much information about the incident as possible. Upon arriving at the hotel, crew members were offered the opportunity to meet with qualified medical professionals, to retire to private rooms where they could eat, shower and sleep, or go home. Only then did Transocean and its representatives present crew members with a standard one-page document that asked them to describe where they were at the time of the incident, what they were doing, and to affirm, if true, that they were not a witness and/or that they were not injured. They were free to complete the form at their leisure, or not at all. Some crew members even took the forms home and returned them more than seven days after the incident.

    My son is still in touch with some of the Horizon’s marine crew. I think I’ll ask him what he’s heard.

  71. 71
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    Just heard back from my son. All he knows is that they all got urine tests after getting off the boat, but that is standard industry procedure after accidents.

  72. 72
    TenguPhule says:

    If nobody goes to jail for this I’m going to throw myself BP’s board of directors off a burning oil rig. Beyond obscene.

    Fixed.

  73. 73
  74. 74
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @The Sphynx:

    The workers would have to establish that a tort has been committed, which in this case wouldn’t be kidnapping but rather UNLAWFUL IMPRISONMENT. We need more facts to determine whether this occurred although if they were indeed being held on a Transocean/BP vessel offshore this helps the workers dramatically as some of the analysis of unlawful imprisonment turns on the availability of escape.

    The problem is that the Yahoo/Guardian story conflates two different events to inaccurately claim attorneys held them on the boat and forced them to sign legal documents.

    The NPR story that the article links to has the full interview with Choy, and makes it clear that it was the Coast Guard that was interviewing survivors on the rescue boat (which was owned by Tidewater, not BP or Transocean).

    Also according to the NPR story, Transocean presented the response forms to the men at the hotel hours after they had returned. According to Transocean (@69), some men even took the forms home to complete.

  75. 75
    jl says:

    I hope everyone sees now that it would be horrid if Obama placed the boot heel of big government across the throats of such nice corporate citizens.

    You see my friends, Freedom says that if it was really in the interest of those union thug lazy ass parasite underling workers (who are probably lying in order to get something for themselves), they would have planned ahead and found another way to get off the oil rig after it blew up and burned.

    Why, they could have hired private contractors!

    But they didn’t.

    Leeeaavve Rand Paul ALOOOONE! Please.
    He is a victim!

    (snark tag here)

    Edit: actually, IIRC, the first news reports I heard were more consistent with Zuzu’s petals. I am not a lawyer, but I think some lawyers should look closely into that those supposed incident reports said in the fine print. Whatever the story, I think it is clear the the corporations have been involved in suspect behavior in trying to limit their liability.

  76. 76
    gopher2b says:

    @tavella:

    It’s not really that simple, and honestly, its a dumb move probably thought up by some in house lawyer. I cannot imagine outside counsel doing something this stupid. Imagine how this plays in front of a jury.

  77. 77
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @jl:

    Edit: actually, IIRC, the first news reports I heard were more consistent with Zuzu’s petals. Whatever the story, I think it is clear the the corporations have been involved in suspect behavior in trying to limit their liability.

    Yes, I think some of the testimony at the recent hearing bore this out with respect to the Coast Guard’s involvement:

    Coast Guard incident investigator Lt. Barbara Wilk … described how she and other investigators collected statements from all of the survivors and then conducted face-to-face interviews with nine of them.

    Truthfully, when I read something that is quoted by the lawyer of someone suing the company (in this case a welder who had worked on the rig for four days and is suing for $5.5 million)…I want to double check the facts. Add to that that the article and some it linked to are full of inaccuracies, well, I really want to double check.

    Not to play devil’s advocate, but I think the incident response form Transocean handed out is pretty standard stuff. Sure they probably want to limit their liability, but that cuts both ways … they also want to show that they tried to ascertain if there were injuries, made medical care available on the spot, etc.

  78. 78
    Helen says:

    I am disgusted beyond belief by these corporate thugs. Basically kidnapping, intimidation and extortion. As bad as cult programmers or the mob, take your pick.

  79. 79
    PeakVT says:

    Refer these fuckers to The Hague!

    That would be nice, as the truth would be more likely to be discovered. But my question is serious, because I don’t know if the Louisiana AG can be trusted to look into the issue properly.

  80. 80
    RalfW says:

    It’s been 22 years since I took business law, but any half-decent attorney can void that ridiculous statement they signed as a undergraduate-level example of duress. Totally craptastic work by the bad guys none the less.

  81. 81
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @RalfW:

    but any half-decent attorney can void that ridiculous statement they signed as a undergraduate-level example of duress

    Even the guys who took it home and sent it back seven days later?

  82. 82
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @gopher2b:

    I dunno, I think it looks like a pretty basic witness statement.

    Transocean witness statement.

    I understand that noting whether the witness was injured is standard practice in investigating industrial accidents.

  83. 83
    RedDirtGirl says:

    @Linda Featheringill:
    But I didn’t see the word “abhorrent”. Paul seems particularly fond of that one.

  84. 84
    gopher2b says:

    I understand that noting whether the witness was injured is standard practice in investigating industrial accidents.

    Holding them captive against their will until they sign it is not.

  85. 85
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @gopher2b:

    And how exactly did Transocean hold them captive against their will until they signed?

    Did you actually read anything except the mistake-ridden piece posted up top? How about the more accurate NPR piece it links to? The Transocean news release @69?

  86. 86
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    Correction, the Transocean news release is @70.

  87. 87
    Mac from Oregon says:

    What is going on here? This is a plot from the A-Team. Seriously this is the point where BA Barack-us usually invents something to crush the bad guys and make their cars do a half roll in the air.

  88. 88
    postmodernprimate says:

    @Brandon:

    “…what Dr. Rand Paul thinks about all of this”

    That the market will punish Transocean when readers of this blog look elsewhere for their offshore drilling needs.

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