On January 13, 2015, a 53-year-old Billings businessman entered guilty
pleas related to a failure to provide workers comp coverage for employees
working in the Bakken oil field, according to the
Guilty Plea Entered
The man specifically pled guilty to one felony count of employer misconduct
and 292 misdemeanor counts. The state of Montana is recommending a two-year
sentence imposition deferment as long as payment of a $5,000 fine and
$61,261.56 in restitution occurs. A March 10 sentencing hearing will occur.
Charging documents asserted that from June 2011 to June 2013, Black Gold
Energy Services failed to have coverage in place for certain workers residing
in Montana. The business was the subject of a court order demanding that
it cease operations until there was insurance coverage for the workers.
The company did comply after June 2013.
Investigation in 2011
In early 2011, the state's Department of Labor contacted him a number
of times about the lack of Montana coverage, according to the charging
documents. In June 2011, the man told an investigator that his company
did not have Montana
workers compensation coverage because no workers lived in Montana. However, a state investigator
later alleged that this was untrue. He did have North Dakota workers compensation
coverage in place at the time, however.
In January 2011, the Dickinson Press reported that workers with Black Gold
Energy Services inadvertently set fire to two of the company's semi-trailers
in Dickinson. There were no injuries reported when an effort to warm up
a trailer with a propane torch went awry.
Montana Company Operating Wells in North Dakota
The company usually employs one to eight people in providing trucking services
in both Montana and North Dakota. Subsidiaries own three wells in North Dakota.
Employers in Montana and elsewhere operate under state workers compensation
laws designed to ensure that workers are properly insured when an injury
or fatality occurs. Our legal team provides representation to workers
under workers compensation laws and personal injury statutes, when applicable.
We offer no-cost consultations to injured workers. To learn more, please