Monday, June 10, 2013

Lawsuit Claims BP and Courts Colluded to Keep Monopoly on Oil Containment Tech

Dees Illustration
Brandon Turbeville
Activist Post

If claims being made amid the court proceedings surrounding a three-year old lawsuit filed against BP are to believed, then a stunning revelation has been made regarding the criminal neglect of British Petroleum and, even more so, collusion between BP and agents of the Federal courts.

The lawsuit (No. C-10-02505) and its subsequent appeals began as far back as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010 when Ron Johnson, owner of Ericam Environmental, LLC., filed a lawsuit with the United States District Court of the Northern District against British Petroleum of America. The suit, filed by Johnson Pro Se (with no attorney) accused BP of both Antitrust and Negligence.

While BP’s negligence in the Deepwater Horizon spill scarcely needs a court case in which to be proven, Johnson’s case focused largely on the aspect of antitrust in which he claims that BP “willfully and intentionally mislead and concealed facts to the American government, the President of the United States and the American public about the Deep Water Horizon oil spill, clean up and recovery.”

The lawsuit also claimed that BP “willfully and intentionally misquoted the actual amount of oil arising from defendant’s [BP] damaged oil rig. Due to the continuing negligence in the operation of the remediation of this oil that is spreading across the Gulf of Mexico waters and costal shorelines, causing total destruction of the wetlands, fish and wildlife with, complete hardship for the people of the states adjacent to the Gulf waters, along with future undetermined damage to the fish industry as well.”

Likewise, the lawsuit alleged that BP “willfully and mistrustfully contracted with the defendant’s [BP] sub-company to spray overhead and discharged underwater, an extremely high toxic disbursements [and extremely toxic dispersants - Ed.] fully knowing its harming potential, without any regards to the cause and long term effects it will have on fish, wildlife and human life.”


But, while BP’s deception in this regard is widely known, it is the subsequent claims, if true, that would add yet another level of treachery and deception on the part of BP to that which already exists in well-documented form.

In this regard, Johnson’s lawsuit went on to state that BP “was fully aware of and refused the assistance provided by plaintiffs, of an existing marine oil containment system that had been tested and certified to by the United States government, (Minerals Management Stewardship) at Ohmsett, the National Oil Spill Testing Facility in Leonardo, NJ.”

Furthermore, the suit alleged that BP “has been aware of this system for over 9 years and has been offered assistance by plaintiffs [Johnson], but refused the use of said system in clean up on 4 different oil spills clean up occasions, including Deep Water Horizon.”

Lastly, Johnson claimed in his suit that BP “has intentionally discriminated against plaintiff [Johnson] in order to maintain a monopoly to the selected few companies, on the grounds of assuring that said product will never be seen or used in the oil recovery industry.”

In layman’s terms, Johnson’s lawsuit alleged (in addition to BP’s deceit regarding the severity of the spill and its attempts to contain it) that BP had been aware of the existence of equipment that would have been able to contain the spill and recover the oil but that it neglected to use these technologies due to its desire to keep these technologies out of the line of sight in the oil recovery industry. The lawsuit states that by keeping such technology a secret, BP and other interested parties would be able to maintain a monopoly over oil recovery, a situation that Johnson, via his lawsuit, suggests would not be possible if his equipment were used under the eye of the public and/or the oil recovery market.

The technology that Johnson refers to in his lawsuit is the SAK-J5 Containment Boom which was tested at OHMSETT, the National Oil Spill Response Test Facility, and was found to be able to operate with the speed of 2 knots without causing any damage to the ability to contain the oil. It was also found to successfully recover oil at the rate of 100%.

Let that sink in for a moment.

The SAK-J5, Johnson’s oil containment system, was tested by the National Oil Spill Response Test Facility and was found to contain 100% of the spilled oil. This means, at least theoretically, that the millions of gallons of oil that escaped into the Gulf and which is still apparently gushing underneath the surface could have been contained and recovered with only an infinitesimal amount of the damage that has resulted from the spill thus far. Not only that, it could have been contained without the use of toxic chemicals like Corexit.

When asked to explain his oil containment system, Johnson stated,
This oil containment system replaces the boom or sea curtin. It corrals the oil and keeps the oil in place at the point of the oil spill allowing for the oil to be removed with skimmers and removed safely, not allowing any oil to reach the coastal shorelines. It will contain 100% of any marine oil spill. It greatly limits the number of fish and wildlife that are usually destroyed because of its design. The best part about this system is... That there are no bio-degradeable chemicals which are all carcinogens used. In short, my system works with the environment. Not against it.
He went on to say that,
The below surface was designed 10 years before the Deep Horizon disaster. It allows the oil to be funneled to the surface and contained and removed to a waiting tanker. While allowing the pipe inside the system to repaired or replace the pipe without allowing the oil to float free. 


In light of these claims, when Johnson was asked whether or not he believed he could have contained the Gulf oil spill he responded, “I know that I could have and in a matter of days if I had been given the chance.”

Yet, the saga of Ron Johnson vs BP does not merely surround the invention of a technology that could have saved the Gulf but didn’t because a multinational corporation did not want to allow it for purposes of monopoly. That aspect of the ordeal, Johnson maintains, could have been dealt with by the courts.

However, both Johnson and his lawsuit state that the courts themselves eventually ended up playing a major role in stifling his ability to solve the Gulf oil spill crisis.

Of course, while losing parties in court battles have accused the courts of malfeasance before, Johnson’s situation is somewhat different since he claims he never actually had a day in court that would have afforded him the opportunity to either win or lose his case after having it heard. But even the lack of such an opportunity is not the main question posed by Johnson in his subsequent appeals of the original denial to move his suit forward in the courts.

If the statements made in Johnson’s lawsuit are accurate, it appears that the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, and even the U.S. Supreme Court itself have not only failed in their duty to impartially examine the facts and merits of the cases brought before them, but have actually ran interference for British Petroleum.

Some instances of the alleged malfeasance is documented in Johnson’s Petition For Writ Of Certiorari in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. The suit provides a timeline of events that, if true, demonstrate that the Federal Courts and BP are indeed closer than even the most jaded Americans might believe.

The lawsuit claims the following:
On June 7, 2010 Ron Johnson’s original lawsuit was filed against BP and the case was assigned to Magistrate Judge Elizabeth D. LaPorte. On June 14, 2010, Mr. J. Andrew Langan of Kirkland & Ellis LLP, representing BP, attempted to file a motion to have the case transferred to the Judicial Panel On Multi District Litigation, a motion that was denied. 
On September 27, 2010, the U.S. Marshal’s Office mailed out the Summons and Complaint to BP via first class mail (thus receiving a return receipt). This Summons and Complaint was received by BP (accepted and signed for by BP’s mail service) at 6:43 a.m. on October 8, 2010. 
Seven days later on October 25, Johnson requested a Status Conference regarding the Notification of Violation of Civil Procedure. This is because, Johnson claims, he was unaware that the Marshal’s Office had waited close to three months to send the Summons and Complaint. On October 29, Johnson received a Clerk’s Notice that Case Management (not a Status Conference) was set for November 10. 
Although the Marshal’s Office had waited an excessive amount of time to mail the Summons and Complaint to BP, the firm did in fact receive the documents on October 8. Thus, BP, on November 1, was in official default because it had never answered the Summons and Complaint in the 9th Circuit Court where it had been filed. 
On November 3, B.P.’s legal team hand delivered a letter to Magistrate Judge stating that “neither B.P. nor any of its affiliates had been served yet and are requesting a joint Case Management.” On November 10, Magistrate LaPorte, having not entered the status of Default herself nor by the Clerk, went ahead with the Case Management Conference. BP’s legal council was in attendance at this meeting. 
At this meeting, B.P.’s legal team told the Court that “they had not received this Summons & Complaint, nor had their Firm or any B.P.’s affiliates received or had any knowledge of this complaint or Summons.
Before going any further, several questionable details must be pointed out.
  1. If BP had no knowledge of the Summons and Complaint or that a lawsuit had been filed against them, why did BP attempt to have the lawsuit (of which they claim they knew nothing) transferred to the Judicial Panel on Multi District Litigation (J.P.D.M.L)?
  2. If BP did not respond to the Summons and Complaint, why was a Default order not issued by the Clerk? Why was the Default order not issued by the Judge?
  3. If BP was completely ignorant of the court proceedings, how would it know to show up for Case Management on November 10, when Johnson had asked for a Status Conference?
  4. Is it not a strange coincidence that BP had requested Case Management and that Judge LaPorte granted Case Management even though Johnson (the only party present in the court since BP claims it was not aware of the proceedings) only requested a Status Conference?
Still, the saga continued.
On November 15, Johnson received a letter from BP’s legal team informing him that BP had received the Summons and Complaint at B.P. Headquarters. The day after, the Clerk denied Johnson’s second request for entry of Default against BP because the Clerk states that “The Marshals had no proof of signature with tracking form.” Regardless, the Clerk entered the Process of Receipt Form without the copy of signature into the court record. 
Even after Johnson provided further proof that BP had, indeed, received and signed for the document, Johnson's 3rd request for default entry was denied on December 9. In a telephone conversation between Johnson and the Clerk’s supervisor, Johnson was told by the Supervisor that the Clerk denied his request for Default entry because “he had a problem with entering default against BP and I should have the Court order this Entry.”
As Johnson argues in his subsequent appellate filings, once a party is in default, it is the responsibility of the Clerk to enter that party in record as being in Default. Simply put, it is not up to the Clerk’s discretion, but it is a matter of simple procedure. Indeed, as Johnson cites in his appeal, Rule 55 (a) F.C.J.P. states “When a party against whom a judgment for affirmative relief is sought has failed to plead or otherwise defend and that failure is shown by affidavit or otherwise. The Clerk must enter the party’s default.”

Yet not only did the Clerk refuse to enter the Default as is required by the law, the judge, Elizabeth LaPorte, did nothing to address this fact.

In addition, Johnson alleges even further questionable behavior on the part of the administrative staff of the various offices of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. In fact, Johnson asserts that some agent of the court or individual working within the administrative offices of the court violated the privacy of communications between Johnson and Molly Dwyer, the Clerk of Court to which Johnson had addressed a confidential letter.

This is because the aforementioned letter which was addressed to Clerk of Court Molly Dwyer and designated “Personal and Confidential” was written, according to Johnson, in order to make Ms. Dwyer aware of “all of the wrong-doings and actions by some of the Clerks in the Administrative Offices of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.” Yet this letter became a matter of record within the J.P.D.M.L. as a “Letter of Inquiry” which was subsequently denied.

Yet, as Johnson’s Petition For Writ of Certiorari states,
This Letter of Inquiry was not addressed to the Panel. Johnson was not seeking relief from this letter from the Panel. This letter was written by Johnson and addressed to the Clerk of Court, Attention Molly Dwyer, and marked Personal-Confidential. 
This letter was written to inform the Clerk of all of the wrong-doings and actions by some of the Clerks in the Administrative Offices of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. 
This letter should have never been posted to my case file, or even viewed by the Panel. The Panel, should never have even addressed this letter. Johnson was not seeking relief in this letter of inquiry. Johnson states that there was no relief requested for the Panel to deny.
As a result, Johnson has personally concluded that either an individual within the Administrative Office of the Clerk of Court took it upon his/herself to open the letter and introduce it as a matter of record and request with the J.P.D.M.L. or Molly Dwyer herself was responsible for entering the letter. The admittance of the letter as a matter of request for relief with the J.P.D.M.L. thus stands as yet another questionable act by individuals involved with the proceedings of this lawsuit.

Yet what stands as even more unfortunate and suspicious than the apparent malfeasance of the lower Federal Courts is the fact that Johnson’s original lawsuit and the subsequent appeals found themselves all the way up to the Supreme Court where they were supposedly reviewed by all nine justices and denied a hearing. With this decision, the Supreme Court decided not to hear a case that was demonstrating improper and potentially illegal procedure on behalf of the subordinate courts.

But while this decision would clearly be a miscarriage of justice, Johnson even calls in to question the nature in which the denial to grant his appeal was handed down. Johnson suspects that, even at this high level, his appeal was scuttled by the Clerk and/or the administrative staff of the court.

Regardless, the nature of Johnson’s lawsuit, antitrust or not, is revealing in at least two ways. First, if Johnson’s claims are accurate, the lawsuit shows at the very least an effort by the Federal Courts to bend over backward to aid B.P. in its legal endeavors and to save the corporation from losing its court battles. At worst, this lawsuit demonstrates, as Johnson suggests, collusion between B.P. and individuals employed in the U.S. Federal Court system.

Second, Johnson’s lawsuit reveals that there is indeed a technology capable of containing and recovering 100% of the oil lost in industrial oil spills, at least in theory. The fact that this technology has not been used and the further possibility that it has actually been blocked from being used is an unconscionable crime committed against the environment, the American people, and future generations.

It should be noted that B.P. was contacted with specific questions and/or the provision of an official statement regarding the proceedings of this case. Even after several weeks, B.P. has declined to respond to this writer’s inquiries.

It should also be noted that the Supreme Court was contacted regarding questions of judicial procedure. No one from this institution responded to this writer’s inquiries.

Read other articles by Brandon Turbeville here.

Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor's Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of three books, Codex Alimentarius -- The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, and Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident. Turbeville has published over 200 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville's podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV.  He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com. 

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3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow what a story! Bp needs to own up and start helping people! Way to go Mr. Johnson

Anonymous said...

Wow.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the truth

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