October 2013 Bonus Case Summaries: Louisiana: Guilty Plea to Destruction of Evidence Results in Soft Treatment

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United States v. Halliburton Energy Services, Inc., No. 2:13-cr-00165-JTM-KWR (E.D. La. Sept. 19, 2013).   In this criminal law case, the Justice Department accepted the defendant’s guilty plea for “unauthorized destruction of evidence” following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The plea consisted of a misdemeanor conviction of “unauthorized destruction of evidence.” The defendant deleted computer programs which showed that the cement work on that particular oil rig was inadequate and led to the explosion. The evidence, if produced, may have shifted the blame away from other contractors. Prior to deletion of the evidence, an executive of the defendant had put a preservation order in place, which subordinates ignored. The Justice Department will not file further charges against the company, but it may pursue further charges against singular employees. The company was sanctioned with a soft $200,000 fine.