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Transocean Settles First Deepwater Horizon Death Case

Transocean has settled its first lawsuit filed on behalf of Karl Kleppinger Jr.’s family. Karl was one of the 11 oil rig crew members killed on the night of April 20, 2010, when the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

Karl Kleppinger Jr.’s family was one of the first to sue over deaths and injuries suffered by the 126 crew members who were on the rig when it blew out while drilling a well for BP Plc off the Louisiana coast. The explosion caused the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history, with more than 4.1 million barrels of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico.

Bloomberg News reports:

“The Kleppingers have settled all of their claims arising out of the death of Karl Kleppinger Jr. against any current or possible defendants,” Steve Gordon, the family’s maritime lawyer, said today in an interview. “The Kleppingers’ claim against BP has concluded.”

The settlement was posted today in the docket of the New Orleans federal court handling suits arising from the explosion. Transocean attorneys and Gordon submitted a court filing asking for dismissal of the suit because of the settlement.

Gordon declined to disclose the amount of the settlement or who would be paying it. The claims are resolved “against all parties they sued or could have sued,” he said.

“The terms are confidential,” Ellen Barry, a Transocean spokeswoman, said in a phone interview today.

Kleppinger was a floor hand on the rig when it exploded.

Closed Chapter

“The Kleppingers have tried to close a very terrible chapter in their lives,” said Gordon, maritime lawyer of Gordon, Elias & Seely LLP in Houston. “It is time to move on.” Gordon also represents Transocean employees who were injured in the explosion. Those cases remain pending, he said.

The Kleppinger suit, filed in Texas state court, was removed to federal court in New Orleans and combined with hundreds of others seeking compensation for injuries and economic damages from the explosion and spill.

Daren Beaudo, a spokesman for BP, declined to comment on the settlement.

The case is In Re: Oil spill by the Oil Rig Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010, 2:10-md-2179, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana (New Orleans).

To contact the reporters on this story: Margaret Cronin Fisk in Southfield, Michigan, at mcfisk@bloomberg.net; Laurel Brubaker Calkins in Houston at laurel@calkins.us.com.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David E. Rovella at drovella@bloomberg.net.

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