A confidential settlement has been reached in a lawsuit involving a Montana man who died working at a Marathon Oil well in North Dakota.
An attorney representing the family of Dustin Bergsing said Friday that he could not reveal any details of the settlement.
Fredric Bremseth, of the Bremseth Law Firm in Minnetonka, Minn., said only that "the case was resolved for a confidential amount."
Chief U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull signed an order dismissing the federal lawsuit on Wednesday.
Bergsing, a 21-year-old resident of Edgar, was found dead by a co-worker early in the morning on Jan. 8, 2012, at a Marathon oil well in Mandaree, N.D.
A wrongful-death lawsuit against Marathon Oil was filed last July in Yellowstone County District Court, and the case was later moved to federal court. The suit was filed by Bergsing's mother, Trista F. Juhnke, of Livingston, on behalf of her son's estate.
Bergsing was born in Livingston. He and his fiancee, Lacey Breding, had a daughter, McKinley, who was born six weeks before Bergsing's death.
In pretrial statements filed by attorneys for the family and Marathon Oil, both sides agreed that Bergsing died of hydrocarbon poisoning. He was employed by Across Big Sky Flow Testing, which was a subcontractor for Marathon.
Bergsing lived in a trailer on-site at the well in northwestern Dunn County, where his job involved opening hatches on oil storage tanks to see if they were full or close to full, according to the statement filed by attorneys for his estate.
He went on shift at 10 p.m. on Jan. 7, 2012, and at 1:30 a.m. on Jan. 8, a supervisor found his lifeless body on a platform near an open oil hatch. The North Dakota coroner and a private pathologist both concluded that Bergsing died of hydrocarbon vapor poisoning.
The statement said Marathon Oil "knew or should have known that the oil well and tank facility where Dustin Bergsing worked was unreasonably dangerous due to the presence of a large amount of toxic hydrocarbon gases under pressure in the oil."
The statement further said that Marathon "was actually warned by an employee that the accumulation of gases at these wells was ultrahazardous, and could result in a death."
A computation of damages hadn't yet been done, the statement continued, "other than to value the case in the seven-figure range."
In their pretrial statement, attorneys for Marathon Oil outlined several different defenses they were prepared to mount. One was that the plaintiff's claims could have been barred or limited if it was shown that Bergsing's death was due, at least in part, to his own negligence.
Another defense was that the damages may have been the result of negligence by a third party over whom Marathon had no control, and still another was that a contract between Marathon and Across Big Sky, Bergsing's employer, included an indemnity clause in favor of Marathon.