Former Rowan Employee Wins $1M for Reporting Toxic Waste Dumping
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1 December 2007:
Robert Daniel Marcy worked on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico where he observed that his employer at the time, Rowan Companies Inc., was dumping hazardous waste into the water.
As is "the case" in the United States, an employee is always terminated whenever he attempts to improve his employer's behavior -- that is simple capitalism. Marcy observed Rowan Companies dumping oil, hydraulic fluid, and toxic agents into the Gulf of Mexico and video taped the practice. He also collected water samples and the names of coworkers who dumped toxins into the Gulf. He was fired for the effort and he sued --not for his job back-- to halt Rowan Companies' practice.
The law firms Richardson, Patrick, Westbrook & Brickman (RPWB) LLC, and Robertson & Hollingsworth Attorneys at Law, and Kanner & Whiteley LLC won a $1 million settlement for Marcy against Rowan Companies in federal court.
“Mr. Marcy’s determination to stop these environmental crimes deserves to be rewarded. This victory sends a positive signal to those who may be hesitant to speak up when a crime is being committed. Oil and gas drilling companies owe a duty to the public to operate in a proper manner and within federal guidelines,” said RPWB attorney Rob Turkewitz.
Marcy’s efforts resulted in a federal criminal prosecution for which Rowan Companies pleaded guilty in October 2007 to three felonies related to discharge of hazardous substances and garbage from the company’s Midland oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico.
Rowan Companies was ordered to pay a $7 million criminal fine along with another $2 million fine to be paid to five state government enforcement organizations for environmental community service projects. After the court’s order Marcy said, “I just did the right thing and I hope others will too.”
But the court fines were peanuts to Rowan Companies. Shares in the company have spiked to $46.16 per share in the past year, but are basically flat at $35.40 in the days following the ruling.
For the company's third quarter ending 30 September 2007, Rowan Companies generated record profits of $130.8 million, or $1.16 per share, up from $87 million one year ago. Revenues rose to $502.2 million from $417.1 million.
Rowan Companies' offshore rig utilization was 99 percent during third quarter, up from 91 percent one year ago. The average offshore day rate was $158,200 during the third quarter of 2007, or an increase of $11,400 from a year ago.
Danny McNease, chairman and CEO, said, "Rowan's drilling operations have again contributed record results, and recent contract negotiations support our confidence that this upward trend will continue into 2008 and beyond. For example, we have received a letter of intent from a major integrated oil company for two years of work offshore Angola that the Gorilla VII should begin late in the first quarter of 2008, and from which we expect revenues of approximately $264 million. In the Gulf of Mexico, we are nearing finalization of a six-month commitment for the Gorilla II commencing in April 2008 at a day rate of $195,000, or an 11 percent increase over the rig's current rate. In the North Sea, we are negotiating a six-month extension of the Gorilla VI and expect a day rate in excess of $300,000."
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