Emergency and Crisis Response

Kean Miller represents Louisiana energy, petrochemical, and manufacturing concerns with regard to accidents, emergencies and crisis situations.  Our 30-year history with Louisiana’s energy and petrochemical industry provides us with the knowledge and substantive skill to address practically any industrial or business accident.  Our Emergency and Crisis Response teams are equipped to handle environmental reporting, interfacing with state and federal authorities, protecting and preserving evidence, producing documents and reports, interviewing witnesses, securing the services of experts and consultants, advising corporate officers, and working with the media to protect the public.  We have also represented clients in connection with offshore and onshore accidents on drilling rigs, oil production platforms, barges, tug boats, as well as vehicular accidents involving the transportation of materials, chemicals, and other products.

In addition, we regularly conduct pre-incident response training for plant personnel and executives, develop action plans for emergencies, conduct audits, and organize preparatory drills for clients.

Representative Experience:
  • Representation of a significant Louisiana chemical manufacturer in all legal and business aspects of a 2013 explosion and fire at its Geismar, Louisiana refining facility.  The Kean Miller team assisted our client in official notifications, evidence preservation, interaction with state and federal environmental and safety authorities, root cause analysis, litigation management, and class action defense.
  • Representation of a global energy and chemical refiner in incidents arising from three explosions and fires at their Louisiana refineries.  In each incident, the Kean Miller team was prepared and assisted in every aspect of the situation, which included sending required notifications, interfacing with state and federal authorities on-site, evidence preservation, securing experts for immediate post-incident evaluation, collecting witness statements, and in the subsequent litigation. In two of the incidents, a Kean Miller team was on-site within two hours and in that short period of time had already engaged outside air modeling consultants and health consultants to secure background information for the ensuing litigation.  As a result of our efforts, we preserved the record of constituents of the air plume, and evidence of cause and origin.  This action limited the potential class area significantly.
  • Representation of a Lake Charles chemical refinery in a 20,000+ claimant class action as a result of a 13-hour release of SO2.  The Kean Miller team was on-site when state and federal authorities demanded entry into the Lake Charles facility.  We assisted the investigating team, assembled outside consultants and experts, and handled the resulting litigation.  As a result of our efforts, we achieved a relatively fast resolution of class action litigation on a favorable basis to the client.
  • Representation of a chemical refiner with regard to two chemical releases from their Geismar, Louisiana facility. Within hours of the release being contained, the Kean Miller team was on-site with the client’s risk management staff.  The Kean Miller team participated in the investigation of the releases, including conducting interviews of witnesses, identifying and gathering relevant documents, reviewing reports, providing advice on responding to media inquiries, and assisting in dealing with claimants.  As a result of our early intervention in the investigation, our client avoided pitfalls related to not identifying and maintaining documents.  The documents, from a technical standpoint, were not relevant to the root cause analysis.  However, the documents would have become relevant during litigation.  In addition, we were able to identify issues with the wording of the investigative reports that would have negatively impacted subsequent litigation.  Finally, we were able to identify and resolve some claims before the intervention of other counsel.  
  • Representation of a global fertilizer producer with regard to a surprise investigation by the EPA, NEIC, and the FBI.  The investigation commenced with a search warrant covering all activities of the facility in relation to the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, CERCLA, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.  Ten plant managers were also targeted in the investigation.  Over ninety-two federal agents participated in a two-day on-site investigation with multiple weeks of follow-up.  The Kean Miller team was at the facility within one hour of notification and counseled on-site personnel and interfaced with the U.S. Attorney and lead investigators.  Another Kean Miller team assisted with the second day of the investigation.  The team provided counsel to on-site personnel regarding their rights and obligations, interfaced with state and federal authorities on-site, preserved evidence, assisted in securing legal counsel for targeted managers, assisted in securing experts for immediate post-incident evaluation, collected witness statements, and represented the company in the subsequent litigation. As a result of our actions, we assisted in maintaining a calm and thoughtful response in a crisis situation, advised corporate officers on immediate follow-up operations needed, used local contacts to assist in dealing with public statements and suppliers and customers, and provided thorough follow-up audits with consultants to lay the foundation for defense and plea agreements.
  • Representation of a major Louisiana oil facility in an OSHA investigation stemming from OSHA's National Emphasis Program (NEP) for Petroleum Refineries.  The Kean Miller team assisted the investigating team, assembled outside consultants and experts, and handled the resulting negotiations with OSHA.  As a result of our efforts, we obtained a quick resolution of OSHA citation on a basis that will be favorable to the company.
  • Representation of various energy companies in well blowouts and all claims arising from significant catastrophes, which involve contract disputes, personal injury and death claims, environmental issues, and large property damage claims.
  • Representation of a global offshore engineering company in complex contract and personal injury litigation related to its operations in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Representation of a pipeline company against an oil and gas company for the destruction of an offshore oil and gas platform as well as eight deaths and multiple personal injuries.
  • Representation of various drilling companies and oil companies in lawsuits filed by offshore workers based on the Jones Act, General Maritime Law, Louisiana and Texas state law, and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (“LHWCA”).
  • Representation of an energy company’s insurer in litigation and governmental proceedings resulting from destruction of a platform that was struck by a vessel, including issues surrounding a $25,000,000 oil spill clean-up.
  • Representation of numerous marine and energy companies involving significant catastrophes resulting from a rupture of pipelines and subsequent explosions.
  • Representation of a pipeline owner in litigation arising from an oil spill in state territorial waters.
  • Representation of clients in numerous Oil Pollution Act matters.