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Constantine Cannon’s Marlene Koury and Chris McLamb in the LA Times Discussing the Importance of Whistleblowers to Prevent the Next OceanGate

Posted  June 29, 2023

Constantine Cannon whistleblower attorneys Marlene Koury and Chris McLamb are featured in the Los Angeles Times with an op-ed on the importance of whistleblowers to guard public safety in largely unregulated areas.

As Ms. Koury and Mr. McLamb explained, for those familiar with OceanGate — the private exploration company that facilitated the Titan submersible tour — the implosion of the vessel was not an out-of-the-blue catastrophe, sadly, but a predictable event. Years ago, OceanGate’s former director of marine operations reported his safety concerns, including about the carbon fiber hull and the lack of vehicle testing. Rather than heed his concerns, the company terminated him, according to a complaint filed in federal court.

Ms. Koury and Mr. McLamb argued that the adventure tourism promoted by OceanGate and others has far fewer guardrails than publicly funded or public-private transportation that affects many more people’s lives. Because OceanGate is a private company operating outside of U.S. waters, these red flags fell beyond the purview of traditional Coast Guard enforcement or whistleblower action — there was no regulatory body to address these well-founded concerns.

Of course, OceanGate isn’t the only company that has turned a blind eye to safety concerns. As whistleblower lawyers, Ms. Koury and Mr. McLamb have worked with whistleblowers who have brought forward information about defective car engines and airbags and a profits-over-safety culture at Boeing. But there were reporting mechanisms for whistleblowers in those cases: With a private company such as OceanGate, whistleblowers have little option but to apply public pressure — which in this case clearly wasn’t enough.

Ms. Koury and Mr. McLamb stressed that regulation and exploration can and must coexist. And we should make it safer for whistleblowers, regardless of their employment or efforts of their employers to dodge regulation, to disclose information that keeps the public safe.

Read the full article here.

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