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Oil well death lawsuit settled

Suit against Marathon alleged fumes killed 21-year-old man

A wrongful death lawsuit involving Marathon Oil and the mother of a 21-year-old Montana man found dead at a western North Dakota oil well in 2012 has been settled.

Trista Juhnke filed the suit in Montana’s Yellowstone County in July.

Fred Bremseth, Juhnke’s Minneapolis-based attorney, told the Bismarck Tribune on Friday that the case “was settled on a confidential basis.” Marathon spokeswoman Lee Warren confirmed to the newspaper that a no-fault settlement was reached Thursday.

Dustin Bergsing was found unresponsive on an oil storage tank’s catwalk near Mandaree in Dunn County on Jan. 7, 2012. The cover of the tank was open.

North Dakota’s medical examiner ruled that Bergsing, of Edgar, Mont., died from hydrocarbon poisoning due to inhaling petroleum vapors. Bergsing had no health problems and the coroner’s report showed there were no drugs or other toxic substances in his system.

Bergsing worked for Across Big Sky Flow Testing of Dickinson, which was contracted by Marathon Oil.

Eric Brooks, assistant area director for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, said OSHA found no violations of federal standards during its investigation.

Trista Juhnke is a personal representative of Bergsing’s estate. Bergsing also had a fiancee and a daughter, who is now a year old.

 

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