Sometimes, it is the smallest things that leave the largest impact. On or about March 14, 2014, Brent Little was an employee of Halliburton Energy Services Inc. and serving on the Liftboat Vanessa in the Gulf of Mexico. It was at this time that a prank was allegedly played on Little. John Barrow, a fellow crewman, allegedly slipped red tracer dye into Little’s boot. According to reports, Little wore the tampered boot for 14 hours that day and, upon removing the boots, heard laughter and noticed pink footprints on the floor. The die stained Little’s foot for three weeks and it was at this time that Little was informed that red tracer dye was a carcinogen.
Flash forward more than a year to May 16, 2015, when Little was involved in an automobile accident, the fallout of which required him to take a CT scan. According to Little, the scan revealed he had thyroid cancer, forcing him to undergo a thyroidectomy and the removal of lymph nodes.
Little filed suit on March 14 of this year in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana against Halliburton and John Barrow, citing negligence. After the initial incident, Halliburton launched an investigation and found John Barrow responsible for the prank. One such reason for Little suing Halliburton in addition to Barrow is likely that the jar of red tracer dye in question was under the care and custody of Halliburton, yet it was stored in the crew’s living quarters and had no label or warning signs that identified it as hazardous.