Oil field workers file suit against well owners after car crash at site

Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau May 31, 2011, 3:36am

MARSHALL - Three Oklahoma residents have filed a lawsuit against the owners of an oil well site after they took a wrong turn and their vehicle plunged off a drop-off.

Brian Hanes, Melvin Muck and Windale Knighten filed the lawsuit against Nacco Industries Inc., The North American Coal Corp. and the Sabine Mining Co. on May 19 in the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division.

The accident occurred on June 11, 2009, in Harrison County, while the men were working for Bronco Drilling on an oil well.

The men state that they left the oil well, which was leased and operated by the defendants, in an effort to obtain adequate signal for their cell phones. When they were returning to the leased site, they missed their turn and traveled down an unmarked and unlighted roadway, which ended in a dangerous drop-off.

The plaintiffs claim they were unaware of the road condition and their vehicle plunged off the drop-off, resulting in serious physical injuries to the workers.

The defendants are accused of allowing their premises to pose an unreasonable risk of harm. Specifically, the Bronco Drilling employees state that the road into the defendant's premises was improperly maintained, unmarked and inadequately lighted.

The roadway had a sharp right turn to return to the well site with an option of traveling straight "on what appeared to be a continuance of the roadway."

Hanes, Muck and Knighten are seeking damages for mental anguish, physical pain, emotional pain, torment and suffering, disfigurement, physical and mental impairment, medical expenses, loss of earning capacity, lost wages, interest, court costs and attorney's fees.

The plaintiffs are represented by Mark P. McMahon of Erskine & McMahon in Longview.

A Jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge T. John Ward is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:11-cv-00260

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