BP lawsuit filed by Mobile resident charging ill health effects from exposure to oil

Charging BP and other defendants with harming his health and causing serious personal injuries, a Mobile resident and recreational fisherman has filed suit against 16 companies involved in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

On May 29, 2010, Obie F. Carlisle was fishing for flounder in Mobile Bay, near Fairhope and Bayou La Batra, AL. For three or four hours, he waded in the bay to engage in "flounder gigging," a method of flounder fishing. Unbeknownst to him, he was exposed to oil and toxins from the Deepwater Horizon spill — there were no signs posted warning of this danger. Shortly afterward, Carlisle experienced painful rashes, nosebleeds, nasal blockages and shortness of breath, afflictions that continue to this day.

"The gross negligence and recklessness of BP is destroying people's lives in so many different ways that they must be punished to the full extent of the law," said Ron Motley of Motley Rice LLC, one of the nation's largest plaintiffs' litigation firms, and counsel for the complainant. "For Obie Carlisle, BP not only damaged his health, causing serious injury; it took away his greatest joy, which was to fish in the Gulf's once-fertile waters. BP must be fully held to account for exposing Obie and others to toxins and carcinogens unleashed in the Gulf's waters.

"This case will also help address the catastrophic array of errors involved in the drilling activities onboard the Deepwater Horizon on the evening of April 20, 2010, and force the industry to change so that no one else has to suffer a similar fate," Motley said.

The complaint, Carlisle v. BP P.L.C., et al, was filed in Circuit Court for Mobile County, Alabama. It is noteworthy as a health effects lawsuit involving a private citizen engaged in recreational activity rather than occupational exposure.

The complaint alleges the defendants cut corners on safety, ignored federal and state laws and regulations, failed to prepare for the disaster they knew was entirely foreseeable, and then, after the explosion, tried to cover up the severity of the spill and downplay its catastrophic impact, undermining clean-up efforts. It also documents the plaintiff's exposure to the oil and the adverse impact it has had on his health. In particular, the complaint summarizes the full array of scientific evidence of the harmful impact that crude oil has on human health. Noting that the oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill contains benzene, toluene, polyaromatic hydrocarbons and other compounds, which are known carcinogens, the complaint alleges that exposure has been shown to cause rashes, dizziness, headaches, nausea, infertility, immune system suppression, disruption of hormone levels, blood disorders, mutations, cancer, and lung, liver and kidney damage.

In addition, the complaint alleges that, rather than deploying dispersant chemicals known to be reasonably safe, the defendants used more than one million gallons of Corexit products, which have been banned in the United Kingdom since 1998. A key ingredient in these products is 2-butoxyethanol, exposure to which can cause rashes, coughing, wheezing, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, headache, dizziness, liver and kidney damage, cancer, and skin, nose and throat irritation.

The lawsuit demands a jury trial and compensatory and punitive damages.