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When Business Conduct Turns Violent: Bringing BP, Massey, and Other Scofflaws to Justice

49 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2011 Last revised: 9 Sep 2011

Jane F. Barrett

University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, Environmental Law Clinic

Date Written: June 1, 2011

Abstract

In April 2010, forty-seven people died violently as a result of explosions at an oil refinery, in a coal mine and on an offshore drilling rig. The BP Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, the Massey Mine coal mine disaster and the Tesoro Corporation oil refinery explosion raise questions about the corporate and individual criminal culpability of those responsible for these deaths. Too often cases involving worker deaths are not prosecuted at all or result in simply large fines against a corporate entity. This Article argues that the Department of Justice needs to more aggressively investigate and prosecute not only organizations but, more importantly, the individuals who make the decisions that lead to criminal conduct that leads to death or grievous bodily injury.

Keywords: Criminal culpability, worker safety, British Petroleum, Massey Energy Company, Deepwater Horizon, Big Branch Mine

Suggested Citation

Barrett, Jane F., When Business Conduct Turns Violent: Bringing BP, Massey, and Other Scofflaws to Justice (June 1, 2011). American Criminal Law Review, Vol. 48, p. 287, 2011; University of Maryland Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2011-28. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1864612

Jane F. Barrett (Contact Author)

University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, Environmental Law Clinic ( email )

500 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201-1786
United States

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