Transocean pushes for production of medical records

Steve Korris Jun. 29, 2011, 9:18am

NEW ORLEANS (Legal Newsline) - Seven workers claiming orthopedic and emotional injuries from the Deepwater Horizon explosion won't let their employer examine their bodies or minds.

They failed to set appointments with Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling doctors, even after U.S. Magistrate Judge Sally Shushan prodded their lawyer to do so.

Shushan, who helps District Judge Carl Barbier handle explosion and spill suits from many federal courts, sought cooperation in a June 2 email to Anthony Buzbee of Houston.

Buzbee had ignored a May 16 letter from Transocean lawyer Dan Goforth of Houston.

Shushan wrote, "Dear Tony, I would appreciate your responding promptly to the request by Dan Goforth to schedule examinations by Drs. Likover, Thompson and Greve.

"If you will coordinate dates with your clients, they can be accommodated in either Houston or New Orleans by Drs. Greve and Thompson."

Her message achieved no effect.

On June 24, Transocean lawyers Steven Roberts of Houston and Kerry Miller of New Orleans called on Shushan to set appointments and produce medical records.

They asked her to schedule Michael Burrell, Stephen Davis and Dennis Martinez with orthopedic surgeon Larry Likover of Houston on July 7.

They proposed to schedule Patrick Morgan with Likover on July 12, Eugene Moss and Samuel Pigg on July 14, and Micah Sandell on August 4.

They offered no dates for the seven to see psychiatrist John Thompson or clinical neuropsychologist Kevin Greve.

"Importantly, it is not possible for Transocean to obtain the information that would result from mental and physical examinations of claimants through less intrusive means," they wrote.

"Indeed, there is no other way for Dr. Likover, Dr. Thompson, and Dr. Greve to fully evaluate claimants' claims except through mental and physical examinations of them," they wrote.

Buzbee represents six other workers that Transcoean doesn't wish to examine.

Buzbee challenges the constitutionality of the 160 year old Limitation of Liability Act, which limits a vessel owner's liability to the value of the vessel.

He wrote last year that it deprives his clients of property rights without due process.

"Claimants sustained severe bodily injuries," he wrote.

"Claimants have suffered physical pain and mental anguish and, in reasonable medical probability, will continue to do so for the balance of their natural lives," he wrote.

He claimed loss of past and future wages, medical expenses, permanent impairment and loss of ability to perform household services.

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