Lac-Mégantic Class Action -- Victims Demand "Big Oil" Take Responsibility for Explosion: Marathon Oil Corporation and Slawson Exploration Added as Respondents

LAC-MÉGANTIC, QC, Nov. 7, 2013 /CNW/ - The Honourable Mr. Justice Martin Bureau, the judge designated to oversee the Lac Mégantic train explosion class action, granted a motion to add two oil producers, Marathon Oil Corporation ("MRO") and Slawson Exploration Company, Inc. ("Slawson") as Respondents in the Class Proceeding. It is alleged that these were two of the companies that produced the highly explosive shale liquids that were carried on the train and that they failed to provide adequate warnings about the composition of the shale liquids and the true dangers associated with shipping it by rail.

The amendment includes several corporate entities which formed various joint ventures with an existing Respondent in the case, World Fuel Services Corp. It is alleged that these entities were collectively involved in purchasing the shale liquids from MRO and Slawson and thereafter in transporting the liquids from the oil wellheads to the transloading station in New Town, North Dakota, where they were loaded onto rail tanker cars destined for Irving Oil's refinery in New Brunswick.

Lac-Mégantic lawyer Daniel E. Larochelle explained that 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. They should have communicated this increased risk to the purchasers and shippers of the shale liquids." He stated that investigations continue in order to ensure that all responsible parties will be held accountable.

The amendment has also added two new proposed representative petitioners, Serge Jacques and Louis-Serge Parent, both of whose homes and businesses were destroyed as a result of the derailment and ensuing explosions. Further, a Motion for a Representation Order has been filed in the MMA Canada CCAA proceedings on behalf of all Class Members, in order to provide formal standing for all victims in the insolvency proceedings equal to that of other stakeholders.

A team of experienced class action lawyers has been assembled to assist the Lac-Mégantic community to prosecute this action, and consists of Daniel Larochelle in Lac-Mégantic, Consumer Law Group in Montréal, ROCHON | GENOVA LLP of Toronto and Lieff Cabraser Heimann and Bernstein LLP of New York and San Francisco.