Gray•Duffy Obtains Dismissal in Wrongful Death Lawsuit

May 2012


Michael Eisenbaum of Gray•Duffy’s Encino office successfully negotiated a dismissal for a crane company in a wrongful death action filed in Bakersfield, California by the family of the deceased.


Joanne Taylor, et al. v. Gene Watson Construction, Inc.

In June 2011, Chevron employee Robert David Taylor was walking along Chevron’s oil fields outside of Taft, California. The vast oil field had a french drain system installed to capture surface and near surface oil. While he was walking, a hot oil-filled sink hole suddenly erupted, causing Mr. Taylor to fall in and die.

The firm’s client, Huddleston Crane Service, Inc. (“Huddleston”), was one of several parties involved in the installation of the french drain system. The plaintiffs sued Gene Watson Construction, the general contractor, and Gene Watson Construction then filed a cross-complaint against Huddleston and others involved in the drain installation, contending the drain was related to the sink hole that caused Mr. Taylor’s death.

Michael Eisenbaum of Gray•Duffy made persistent demands for a dismissal of Huddleston, which had only lowered the main vessel for the drain into the ground. After demonstrating that Huddleston could not have any causal relationship to the sink hole, the general contractor finally agreed to a dismissal in exchange for a waiver of costs. None of the other parties have been dismissed.

Please Note: This article is necessarily general in nature and is not a substitute for legal advice with respect to any particular case. Readers should consult with an attorney before taking any action affecting their interests.