The workers that helped save the Gulf Coast after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster are now developing illnesses that they say is a direct result of the work they performed. The companies responsible don’t want to help them, even though these workers did the dirty work to clean up after BP and the others involved. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio: The workers that helped save the Gulf Coast after the Deepwater Horizon disaster are now developing illnesses that they say as a direct result of the work they’ve performed. The company’s responsible, well, they don’t want to help ’em, even though these workers did their dirty work to clean up their ugly, ugly disaster. BP, it’s fine with them just to let these folks die without any kind of compensation. It’s an ugly story, isn’t it, Farron?

Farron Cousins: It is. And this is one obviously for both of us for so many reasons, it hits close to home. I mean, literally hit close to our homes here where we’re at. And of course, you and your firm, you handled the cases against BP and got this done. And now all these years later, now we have these cleanup workers who were trucked in every morning, every day on my way into the office here, I would pass the truckloads of cleanup workers. These were low income people. A lot of them were Vietnamese fishermen who were out of work. They were out there with their hands touching this stuff, moving it, dealing with the Corexit that was poured by the barrel full into the Gulf of Mexico. Absolutely getting poisoned the entire time. And they knew nothing of it. BP was running their slick PR campaigns at the time as these people were inhaling these chemicals, letting it seep into their skin, not knowing how bad it would be. You know, what are we, 13 years later now.

Mike Papantonio: Right.

Farron Cousins: And now they’ve got these sicknesses, which they’re all calling BP sickness, is what they’re collectively calling it.

Mike Papantonio: Well, as you know, we handled the aspect of this case against BP. We were the lead lawyers in the BP case in general, which was to try to get this ecosystem cleaned up a little bit, to try to get business owners money that they’d lost as a result of this, and we learned a lot. We learned that this company BP knew about the risk of aplastic anemia relating to the chemicals that they were using just to clean this up. I’m wanna give a shout out to the lawyer. I don’t know him. His name is David Durkee. I’m not endorsing him. I don’t know. He’s with the Downs Law Group. He’s handling these cases and he’s saying he sees the same pattern. He sees respiratory issues, he sees bowel issues, he sees neurological issues. And the truth is they, BP has taken a scorched earth position. We’re gonna fight it out. No, you’re not gonna, we’re not gonna settle with anybody. Out of all the thousands of cases, they’ve settled one case and, you know, and they come out, as you say, with the ad campaign, we’re your neighbors. You know, touchy, feely, let’s have a puppy run across the screen, you know, let’s little babies in the background. It’s disgusting. And people buy into it, man.

Farron Cousins: They really do. And, you know, we understand and I wish I could tell people, like really explain it to you, the stench that we lived with. You’d walk outside our office here, you’d walk outside your home because we both live very close to the water here, the smell would just punch you in the face every time you open your doors. When you’re driving in your car, that smell, that chemical smell was out there. My wife was pregnant while this was happening. My daughter was born with very severe asthma, very severe eczema and allergies of all kind. Something that my other children do not have. Now, I don’t know if it’s related, but it’s still.

Mike Papantonio: Well, there’s some, there’s some relations because you’ve got people dying of all kinds of problems here. And so, you know, the point is, what they’re trying to do is wear these claimants down. They’re deposing them for two days. They’re trying to go through all their medical history and say this went wrong. That went wrong. And it’s just what they do. You know, these silk stocking corporate thug lawyers that are, they’ll do anything for the right amount of money. It doesn’t matter. The side doesn’t matter. The equity doesn’t matter. The fairness doesn’t matter. Just pay me enough money and I’ll do anything. These big corporate defense firms. And that’s so they’ve, they’ve sicced these lawyers on ’em and they’re trying to wait till a lot of them die. Because you understand when they die, the case is worth less. Right.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. That’s always the strategy here. Like, if we waited out long enough.

Mike Papantonio: They’ll die.

Farron Cousins: We know that this, you know, what they’re calling again, BP illness, is gonna take ’em out.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. They actually have a name for, it’s called the ghoul defense. Let’s do this so long that we, that everybody dies and it lessens the amount of money we have to pay.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.