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Tuesday, September 30, 1997
Family to receive $4.6 settlement in oil rig
DALLAS (AP) - A drilling company and other businesses agreed
Monday to pay $4.6 million to settle a lawsuit brought by the
widow and children of a man killed in a 1994 oil derrick accident
in Southwest Texas.
Rodolfo Zamudio, 28, was working at a gas well near Ozona,
about 70 miles southwest of San Angelo, when he was struck in
the head by a 45-foot-long pipe weighing about 600 pounds, said
plaintiffs' attorney Dan Sciano.
The Wes-Tex Drilling Co. employee was hit when one of four
joints of casing pipe being lifted to a drilling platform floor
fell from a sling, Sciano said.
"They were lifting four at a time in direct violation
of the company safety policy," he said.
In the settlement agreement, Wes-Tex Drilling Co.; well operators
J. Cleo Thompson and James C. Thompson Jr.; Thompson Petroleum
Corp.; and W.T. Oilfield Services, agreed to pay $4.6 million
to Zamudio's heirs, Sciano said.
Zamudio is survived by his 27-year-old wife, Elisa Zamudio
of Rock Springs, and three children, ranging in age from 4 to
The wrongful death lawsuit sought damages for Zamudio's pain
and suffering, medical bills and funeral expenses and for his
family's emotional turmoil and their loss of income and companionship,
The defendants admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement, both
plaintiffs and defense attorneys said.
"I think from the standpoint of Wes-Tex and J. Cleo Thompson
and those defendants that it showed they did care about Mr. Zamudio,
that they did go the extra mile to make sure his family was taken
care of," said attorney Terrence Martin, who represented
W.T. Oilfield Services, which paid less than 5 percent of the
Sciano said the payment reflects how seriously defendants considered
the risk in the case.
"It was a very clear case of liability that was hotly
disputed in the beginning and by the end of the case, it was evident
that a horrible mistake had been made on the job site," he
"The reality is in my opinion it's a good resolution for
the children, and I think it will make a difference. The policies
that were established will now be enforced on the job sites."Send
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Abilene Reporter-News / Texnews / E.W. Scripps Publications
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