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BP Defeated Thousands Of Suits By Sick Gulf Spill Cleanup Workers. But Not One By A Boat Captain

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The Gaurdian - VOR News Image

John Maas spent years purchasing and outfitting a 17-foot aluminum boat known as the Superskiff 1 so he could take people fishing for sea trout and flounder in the Gulf of Mexico.

But before the Mississippi captain could undertake his first charter trip in 2010, the BP Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded 120 miles (193 kilometers) to the south, killing 11 workers and spewing millions of gallons of oil into the sea.

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AP – VOR News Image

BP Defeated Thousands Of Suits By Sick Gulf Spill Cleanup Workers. But Not One By A Boat Captain

Maas’ life, like that of many others on the Gulf Coast, was affected by the calamity. When oil fouled the water, he stopped fishing and used his boat to help clean it up. It was unpleasant working in sweltering, humid weather in oily water near the chemical dispersion Corexit, which was used in large quantities to break up oil.

Maas reported that the Corexit smelled like burning brake oil and caused his eyes to weep and his skin to burn. “You were coughing and something like that. In an interview, he described it as being similar to tear gas.

Four years later, he was diagnosed with chemical-induced asthma. Today, the former Marine, who never smoked and was always in shape, exercising with his dog on the beach and keeping up with fishermen 15 years younger, gets winded just going around his deck at home.

BP received criminal fines for the catastrophe and would eventually spend billions of dollars to resolve claims for economic harm and environmental destruction. However, after more than a decade of litigation following the greatest offshore US oil spill, Maas may be the only person to receive a BP compensation for his injuries through an individual case. Thousands of identical cases have been dismissed without ever reaching a jury.

Maas triumphed where more than 99% failed due to his intelligence, stubbornness, and, ultimately, luck. His story exemplifies how difficult it is for workers who say they were sickened by the spill to secure adequate compensation.

Maas collaborated with four different law firms and even handled the matter on his own for months, writing motions longhand on white legal pads and mailing them by US mail.

According to a private copy obtained to The Associated Press, BP eventually agreed to pay Maas $110,000 12 years after the leak occurred. The corporation denied responsibility for his illness. BP declined to comment on the story, citing ongoing litigation.

“I know this is going to shorten my life tremendously,” Maas, 61, said of his sickness. “And I know I’m going to have continued issues related to the spill.”

At every turn, Maas narrowly averted the fates of others.

He initially hired The Nations Law Firm, based in Houston, but dismissed them in 2016 after legal bills reduced his $1,300 payout from a class-action settlement between BP and cleanup workers’ attorneys.

After two miserable years with another law company that was unable to file his federal lawsuit due to paperwork issues, Maas recruited a Miami-based firm that filed one in Louisiana in 2020.

They very instantly butted heads. According to Maas, the firm handed him a document stating that his eyes were sprayed with contaminated water as he was picking up tar balls.

“This was a scripted thing for the dudes who walked down the beach in the (protective) suits with a little shovel, and a broom, and a bag,” he went on to say. “I was a master boat captain.”

Maas didn’t like the error. He also wanted his case heard in Tennessee, where he had relocated. This time, the law firm dropped Maas.

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AP – VOR News Image

BP Defeated Thousands Of Suits By Sick Gulf Spill Cleanup Workers. But Not One By A Boat Captain

Maas then pursued his case against BP on his own for nine months, successfully moving it to Tennessee.

“I think most people would be very hesitant on writing their own motions to court, which I was, but I’m dumb enough not to even be embarrassed by spelling things wrong and and not having it set up right,” he went on to say.

In late 2020, Maas hired Tennessee attorney Ken Burger. Initially hesitant, Burger decided to become engaged after seeing spill worker injury litigation.

“The more I looked at it, the madder I got,” he recounted. “My attitude of mind was, I don’t care if I don’t make a dime out of this. “They (BP) are going to answer my questions.”

As with hundreds of similar complaints, BP attempted to dismiss Maas’ by claiming he could not prove the exact level and duration of his exposure to oil and Corexit.

However, Maas had two things going for him.

The court first heard expert testimony from Corexit researcher Dr. Veena Antony, a professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine at the University of Alabama, who stated that there is no safe dose of the oil dispersion to breath. Maas and his deckhand said that they were “crop dusted” with Corexit and inhaled lungsful.

The second advantage was that the federal court in Tennessee who heard his case was less conservative than those in the Gulf States when it came to establishing a link between harmful chemical exposure and sickness.

bp

AP – VOR News Image

BP Defeated Thousands Of Suits By Sick Gulf Spill Cleanup Workers. But Not One By A Boat Captain

“Mr. Maas does not have to establish he was exposed to a specific dose of Corexit” for his case to proceed, U.S. District Court Judge Waverly Crenshaw Jr. stated in 2021, noting Maas’ doctor indicated the boat captain was exposed regularly for a lengthy period of time.

After the judge ordered mediation, BP agreed.

BP never admitted any fault, and Maas’ attorney carefully frames the outcome: “Unlike cases from New Orleans to Pensacola to Galveston to Tampa… we were able to resolve Captain Maas’ case in a manner agreeable to the parties.”

Since Maas’ case, the lawyer stated that numerous spill workers have begged him to take theirs, but he has refused. “I don’t think any of these cases are winnable,” he told reporters.

And his Corexit expert witness says she is hesitant to testify in any future difficult cleanup lawsuits.

“As a physician, I feel terrible for these people,” he remarked. “But… I am not a lawyer. I wish I was in certain ways; I’d fight for them.”

SOURCE – (AP)

Kiara Grace is a staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. Her writing focuses on technology trends, particularly in the realm of consumer electronics and software. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for breaking down complex topics, Kiara delivers insightful analyses that resonate with tech enthusiasts and casual readers alike. Her articles strike a balance between in-depth coverage and accessibility, making them a go-to resource for anyone seeking to stay informed about the latest innovations shaping our digital world.

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Their Nissan SUV Was Parked In The Driveway. Then It Caught Fire And Exploded

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Nissan | CNN Image

Vicki Hill was awakened early on May 14 by explosions outside her Bethesda, Maryland, house. Later, she discovered that the 2015 Nissan Murano family SUV’s airbags were to blame for the loud bangs. It was on fire.

“I thought someone was trying to get into our house with a sledgehammer and I woke my husband up and I said something’s wrong,” she stated on CNN. “And he ran downstairs and shouted up, ‘Call 911, the car’s on fire!'”

The family gave CNN a video from their home’s doorbell camera, which shows smoke before the fire bursts and engulfs the automobile.

nissan

Nissan | Houston Press Image

Their Nissan SUV Was Parked In The Driveway. Then It Caught Fire And Exploded

The cause of the fire in the Murano is unknown. Nissan is investigating the fire, and the National Highway Traffic Administration is also gathering information.

“The safety and security of our customers is our primary concern,” a Nissan spokeswoman stated in response to an email inquiry about the fire. “We have opened an investigation into this incident.”

Nissan recalled the Hills’ Murano in 2016 and 2019 to address a fault that may cause brake fluid to leak and create a fire even when the vehicle was parked. Owners were instructed to park their vehicles outside and away from buildings until the problem was resolved due to fire hazards.

A search on the NHTSA’s website revealed an outstanding unrepaired recall on the Hills’ Murano. According to the couple, a local fire investigator concluded that the unrepaired recall may have caused the fire. But the Hills recall having the service done and provided CNN with a snapshot of a receipt from a nearby Nissan dealership proving the repair was completed. CNN has not validated the receipt’s authenticity.

The Hills stated that because the recall work had been completed, they did not consider the potential of a fire.

Philip Hill had been working on the garage, so the couple’s two automobiles were parked in the driveway. Otherwise, the Murano would have been parked in the garage beside the home.

nissan

Nissan | DLJ Image

Their Nissan SUV Was Parked In The Driveway. Then It Caught Fire And Exploded

“As you can see from the video, that vehicle is so close to the house,” Philip Hill explained to CNN. “Minutes later, the house could have gone up.”

According to reports, the garage door melted due to the fire. The Hills credit a neighbor’s dog for saving them and their three children. After being alerted by her dog, the neighbor called 911 before the Hills arrived

The powerful flames from the burning Nissan also destroyed the side of the family’s other vehicle, a 2012 Mercedes C-class, rendering it useless.

Initially, the Hills were frightened that they had been victims of vandalism. However, they stated that the video evidence from their Nest doorbell camera clearly showed the truck suddenly combusting.

nissan

Nissan | Houston

Their Nissan SUV Was Parked In The Driveway. Then It Caught Fire And Exploded

According to Hills, Nissan seized possession of the Murano on Wednesday to conduct a more thorough inspection.

Vehicle fires are not uncommon, as shocking as the Hills’ circumstance appears to be. According to the National Fire Protection Association, there will be approximately 188,500 automobile and truck fires in the United States in 2022, an average of more than 500 daily. According to the National Fire Protection Association, vehicle fires killed 610 civilians that year.

SOURCE – (CNN)

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U.S. Stock Markets Closed for Memorial Day on May 27

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U.S. Stock Markets Closed for Memorial Day on May 27

(CTN News) – The U.S. stock market will be closed on Monday, May 27, for Memorial Day.

The Nasdaq and New York Stock Exchange will be closed on Monday and reopened on Tuesday, May 28. According to the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, the U.S. bond market will close at 2 p.m. ET on Friday, May 24.

Memorial Day is one of numerous holidays in the United States commemorates and honors the military. Originally known as “Decoration Day,” it was established in the 1860s to honor those who died while serving in the military.

After Memorial Day, Wall Street will resume regular operations until mid-June. The next scheduled stock market closure is on Wednesday, June 19th, in honor of Juneteenth.

United States stock market 2024 holiday schedule

Markets will be closed for the following holidays:

  • Memorial Day: Monday, May 27
  • Juneteenth: Wednesday, June 19
  • Independence Day: Thursday, July 4 (markets also close at 1 p.m. ET on July 3)
  • Labor Day: Monday, Sept. 2
  • Thanksgiving: Thursday, Nov. 28 (markets also close at 1 p.m. ET on Nov. 29)
  • Christmas: Wednesday, Dec. 25

Memorial Day Traditions

Historically, Memorial Day has served as the unofficial start of summer. Thousands of students have the day off from school, and office workers enjoy a long weekend. As well as honoring fallen military heroes, it is a time for gatherings, barbecues, and outdoor activities.

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Boeing’s 1st Astronaut Flight Now Set For June After A Review Of Small Leak On New Capsule

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Boeing | AP News Image

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida – Boeing is now aiming for its first human launch in early June, having spent the previous two weeks dealing with further issues with the space capsule.

Despite a propulsion system leak, officials from Boeing and NASA have assured that the Starliner spacecraft is equipped to safely transport two test pilots to the International Space Station. The minor helium leak, identified following the initial launch attempt on May 6, was promptly addressed and resolved, demonstrating the commitment to safety.

boeing

Boeing | Medium Image

Boeing’s 1st Astronaut Flight Now Set For June After A Review Of Small Leak On New Capsule

Engineers suspect a faulty rubber seal the size of a shirt button and claim that even if the leak grows, it can be fixed in flight. According to NASA’s commercial crew program manager, Steve Stich, all of the capsule’s other seals checked out, prompting officials to set the launch date for June 1.

This will be Starliner’s third test flight. Demos in 2019 and 2022 had no one on board. Boeing was forced to repeat the empty trip the first time due to software and other issues.

If not for the Atlas V rocket’s faulty valve, which halted the first countdown, Starliner would have launched from Cape Canaveral earlier this month, with the leak discovered in orbit, according to Stich. Officials said that flight controllers would have handled the leak, and the astronauts would have been safe. Helium is utilized to pressurize the fuel lines of the propulsion system, which moves the capsule in flight.

boeing

Boeing | Washington Times Image

Boeing’s 1st Astronaut Flight Now Set For June After A Review Of Small Leak On New Capsule

Engineers now know where the leak is, which, according to Boeing program manager Mark Nappi, will help them improve the system in the future.

“Remember that this is a test flight. “We are still learning,” Nappi told reporters.

According to Stich, the discovery of the Starliner leak revealed yet another issue — “a design vulnerability” in the propulsion system in the improbable scenario of a series of failures. He said that the crew had devised workaround measures to safely remove the capsule from orbit at the end of the trip if such issues emerged.

“We’re not going to fly until we’re sure we’re safe,” NASA Associate Administrator Jim Free stated.

boeing

Boeing | CTV News Image

Boeing’s first astronaut flight is now scheduled for June following a review of a minor leak in the new capsule.

Boeing’s Starliner capsule has already been years late carrying passengers to the International Space Station for NASA. SpaceX has launched crews since 2020. NASA wants both companies to provide taxi service to support each other.

SOURCE – (AP)

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