Skip to Navigation
The Collaborative Clearinghouse for Lawsuits and Other Claims Against ACE Group Insurance Companies

ESIS RICO Class Action Joins the BP Oil Spill Consolidated Litigation in Louisiana.

July 25, 2011 - BP PLC’s disaster in the Gulf of Mexico has continuing implications for the ACE Group as a racketeering allegation against ESIS, including charges that it facilitated the widespread unauthorized practice of law, gains renewed prospects of class-action status.

The petition against BP and ACE subsidiary ESIS Inc. over handling of claims in the wake of the April, 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion has moved from U.S. District Court in Birmingham, Ala., to a federal venue in New Orleans. There, it will join at least 291 other Deepwater-related lawsuits that are being heard as part of a consolidation of complaints by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multi District Litigation.

Plaintiffs in this suit are CMCO LLC and Ben Chenault, a Birmingham, Ala., businessman. Chenault also is suing on behalf of the State of Alabama and others similarly situated. The complaint alleges that BP, ESIS and Worley Catastrophe Services LLC engaged in a racketeering scheme to delay and reduce payments of legitimate claims tied to the BP oil spill.
CMCO owned condominium units along the Alabama portion of the Gulf of Mexico whose rental income prospects were allegedly impacted by the oil spill created by the April 20, 2010, collapse of the Deepwater Horizon Offshore Drilling Rig. CMCO’s properties were managed Brett/Robinson Gulf Corp., which allegedly agreed to represent CMCO to press a damage claim against BP.

Worley and ESIS, which bills itself as a global risk management services provider, were under contract to administer various aspects of the BP claims process. But according to the suit, they conspired with various third parties who were acting as representatives of oil spill victims, such as Brett/Robinson Gulf Corp. The suit alleges that the scheme was tantamount to encouraging the unlicensed practice within a claims process designed to “lull(sic) class members into a false understanding of the availability of recoverable damages at law.”

Plaintiffs said questions of law or fact that they want a court to rule on include whether ESIS and the other defendants violated the Racketeer Influenced & Corrupt Organization Act and mail fraud and wire fraud statutes. The complaint also asks the court to bar the defendants from soliciting any third party to engage in the unauthorized practice of law.

ACE has other interests in the BP Oil Spill aftermath. Notably, ACE American Insurance Co. sued M-I SWACO in Houston federal court last year seeking to deny its liability for any general liability or worker’s compensation claims made against its policyholder as a result the Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig disaster. M-I SWACO provided drilling related services at the drilling platform and company employees were killed in the April 2010 explosion.

M-I LLC. countersued against ACE American, charging its former insurance provider with violating Texas insurance laws by not properly defending it against at least 70 lawsuits it faces.

Like us on facebook!

Please note that article images are for illustrative purposes only. Images do not necessarily depict the actual facts, events, or people discussed in this story.