St. Joe files oil spill damage suit
The St. Joe Co. has filed a lawsuit against the owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig, which exploded last spring in the Gulf of Mexico, causing the largest oil spill in U.S. history.
The suit, filed against Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling Inc. and several related companies, claims Transocean was negligent in its operation and maintenance of the rig and overseeing its day-to-day drilling activities, according to a press release from the company.
“We believe Transocean bears full responsibility for the Deepwater Horizon incident and the catastrophic harm that was caused,” said William A. Brewer III, partner at Bickel & Brewer and lead counsel for St. Joe. “In our view, the record demonstrates Transocean was not only negligent in its primary responsibilities, but that it failed to act upon a series of warning signals that could have prevented this horrific disaster.”
Jacksonville-based St. Joe (NYSE: JOE) is a real estate development company with significant interests in timber. The company owns about 577,000 acres in Florida, the vast majority of which is in the Florida Panhandle where it has, and is continuing to develop residential and resort communities as well as commercial properties surrounding the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport. St. Joe is also in the midst of relocating its headquarters from Jacksonville to WaterSound, which is near the airport.
“Since the incident, St. Joe has suffered a substantial decline in its enterprise value – faced with direct costs, an interruption to its business and the diminution in the value of its assets,” the press release said. In the days following the explosion the company’s stock price declined by more 40 percent, according to the press release.
The suit was filed Oct. 12 in Superior Court for the State of Delaware in New Castle County. The lawsuit is the third legal action taken by St. Joe since the disaster. The company has also filed lawsuits against Halliburton and MI-SWACO