Widow Settles Federal Lawsuit Over Oilfield Workers Death in Oklahoma

The wrongful death lawsuit against XTO and Exxon Mobil in Oklahoma City federal court was settled on Thursday.  But terms of the agreement in the suit brought by the widow of an oilfield worker who died while tank gauging near Ardmore in 2014 were not disclosed.

“The parties have reached a confidential settlement without XTO accepting liability or found to be liable,” stated spokesman Jeremy Eikenberry of XTO in an email to OK Energy Today.

The lawsuit went to trial this week before U.S. District Judge David Russell after Cynthia Simpson declined a settlement offer made earlier in the month. Her husband David Simpson was found collapsed and dead at a well site. The suit alleged poisonous fumes were emitted from the oil tank when Simpson opened the ‘thief hatch” and was overcome.

In his ruling on Thursday, Judge Russell said “the parties have reached a settlement and compromise.”

Simpson’s death was highlighted in a recent safety video produced by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health as OK Energy Today reported earlier in the week at the start of the trial. The video maintained Simpson died from poisonous hydrogen sulfide fumes.

But XTO Energy told OK Energy Today there was no evidence to support the claim that such hazards existed at the XTO well site.

Eikenberry stated, “There is an overabundance of evidence that shows Mr. Simpson has had a long history of pre-existing conditions that put him at high risk for a heart attack.”

He also said the Centers for Disease Control “misrepresented” Simpson’s death due to H2S inhalation after reviewing an OSHA report.

“However, OSHA’s post-incident investigation found that H2S was not present in sufficient levels.”




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