Sundance Energy’s $1.2 Million Judgment Against Dan D. Drilling is Affirmed by 10th Circuit

Dan D Drilling

Ruling in favor of Oklahoma City-based Sundance Energy Oklahoma LLC, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a $1.2 million judgment on Friday against Dan D. Drilling and engineering firm Tres Management for a 2012 incident in which a driller was killed, according to a report in The Oklahoman.

As the well operator, Sundance sued Lamont-based Dan D. Drilling for negligence, gross negligence and breach of contract after a failed drilling attempt resulted in the subsequent plugging and abandonment of the oil and natural gas well.

A federal jury in Oklahoma City originally awarded $1.2 million plus attorney’s fees to Sundance. The jury determined that Dan D. Drilling was responsible for 75 percent of the loss and Tres Management for the remaining 25 percent, according to The Oklahoman.

The Dan D. Drilling crew was drilling a well for Sundance in December 2012. A Sundance representative gave instructions to the Dan D. Drilling crew to stop pulling on the pipe after the company made several unsuccessful attempts to remove a drill pipe stuck in the hole.

Court records indicate that Dan D. Drilling ignored the operator’s instructions and continued the retrieval process. A portion of the drilling rig collapsed, fell and killed the driller. Records from the medical examiner’s office indicate that the driller had “significant quantities of methamphetamine” in his blood at the time of the accident, according to The Oklahoman.

Rig operations were suspended for nearly two weeks while OSHA investigated the incident. OSHA cited Dan D. Drilling for failing to inspect and properly maintain the drilling line.

When drilling resumed, work crews found the well bore had deteriorated and could not be repaired. At that point, Sundance decided to plug and abandon the well.