LAC-MEGANTIC, Que.—A pair of oil producers has been added as respondents in a class action lawsuit seeking compensation from the July rail disaster in Lac-Megantic, Que., that killer an estimated 47 people.
According to Toronto law firm Rochon Renova LLP, both Marathon Oil Corp. and Slawson Exploration Company, Inc. have been added to the lawsuit filed in Quebec court on behalf of those affected by the July 6 derailment, explosions and inferno that destroyed the heart of the small town in eastern Quebec.
Texas-based Marathon and Slawson Exploration, the oil and gas division of Slawson Companies, join a list of respondents that include railway operators Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway (MMA) and Canadian Pacific Railway (CP), rail car manufacturers General Electric Railcar Corp. (GE), Trinity Industries, Inc. and Union Tank Car Co., and a host of other companies and individuals.
Thomas Harding, whom the lawsuit alleges was the train’s driver at the time of the incident, is also named in the lawsuit, as is MMA chair Edward Burkhardt.
The lawsuit claims Marathon and Slawson were two of the companies that produced the fuel on board the MMA train and “failed to provide adequate warnings about the composition of the shale liquids and the true dangers associated with shipping it by rail.”
The train, carrying 72 DOT-111 tank cars at the time, was heading to Irving Oil Ltd.’s New Brunswick refinery when the disaster happened.
These parties were added “on the basis that they knew or should have been aware through testing that the shale liquids carried a much greater risk of explosion and flammability than typical crude oil,” lawyer Daniel E. Larochelle said in a statement.
“They should have communicated this increased risk to the purchasers and shippers of the shale liquids.”
The lawsuit contains allegations not tested in a court of law.