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BP Oil Spill Attorneys | What Some of the Lawyers are Saying

The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has given rise to some of the largest, most complex litigation in U.S. history. There have already been more than 300 lawsuits filed in federal courts, including over 250 filed as proposed class action lawsuits. If the class action lawsuits are certified by a judge as actual class actions, they could include millions of Gulf Coast residents, businesses, and property owners. Defendants in the cases include British Petroleum, Transocean and Halliburton. A ruling is expected in August.

July 29, 2010 – First Hearing Held in all Federal Oil Spill Lawsuits

The Reuters (JPML) held a hearing in Boise, Idaho, on July 29, 2010, to determine whether the cases should all be consolidated and, if so, which court should handle the cases. It is almost a foregone conclusion that the cases will be consolidated. The big issue is where the cases will be sent. The defendants have argued the cases should be sent to Houston, Texas. They were joined in their request by Houston attorney Mark Lanier, who represents some of the plaintiffs. Other oil spill attorneys argued the cases should be sent to New Orleans, Mississippi, or Mobile, Alabama. The Justice Department argued that the cases should be sent to New Orleans.

Some interesting statements were made by oil spill attorneys at the hearing today, so we thought this would be a good time to quote some of the statements by oil spill lawyers handling the BP lawsuits for Gulf Coast residents, businesses and property owners.

Oil Spill Attorneys – What Some Are Saying

July 29, 2010 – Boise, Idaho – Statements Made to Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML)(from Reuters, The New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal).

New Orleans oil spill attorney Russ Herman:

“Our culture rises as a gumbo of Cajuns, Creole, French, German and Spanish,” he said. “All of that is threatened now. This disaster threatens our hope and faith. That’s why New Orleans is the best avenue of justice.”

“We rise out of our myth, our metaphor, our mystery, our seafood and our music, which now is threatened, and the threat of our culture threatens our hope and our faith. You have an opportunity to focus the world on this country, on this disaster, so it won’t happen again. Assist us in our resliiency.”

New Orleans oil spill attorney Allan Kenner: “”If after the Sept. 11 attacks this panel had sent all those cases to Houston or brought in a judge [from elsewhere] to sit in New York, the public would be outraged.”

BP attorney Andrew J. Langan, representing BP, reiterated that his client wants the cases sent to the Southern District of Texas for pretrial proceedings, asserting that “the key witnesses and key documents are by far located in Houston.” Langan told the Panel that, if the cases are sent to New Orleans, BP will argue that Judge Carl Barbier should recuse himself from the cases. Judge Barbier sold his oil stocks shortly after the spill and has refused to recuse himself.

“You are the Superman of the Justice League!” Russ Herman said to W. Mark Lanier, a plaintiffs lawyer who wants the cases heard in Houston, his home. (In an interview, Mr. Lanier noted that he had won many cases against oil giants in Houston, and said, “Houston jurors hate big oil, and think they’re all dirty.”)

Other statements by oil spill attorneys about the BP lawsuits and the JPML hearing (July 29, 2010)(from the Los Angeles Times and The Gazette):

Charlie Tebbutt, an Oregon attorney representing the Center for Biological Diversity in its suit alleging violations of the Clean Water Act, said he is pursuing the maximum penalties against BP and Transocean of $4,300 per barrel of oil spilled into the Gulf waters. He estimates the bill could be $20 billion, “if we can prove gross negligence or willful misconduct, which we expect should be relatively easy to prove in this case.”

“The stakes here are tremendous,” said Georgene Vairo, a Loyola Law School professor of civil procedure and expert in complex litigation. “For a single-event type of incident this is the biggest we’ve ever seen, just in the range of claims, the government and private party actions, the cost of claims, the insurance aspects. It’s just the whole nine yards. It’s huge.” “The facts here are going to be relevant to every single claim. What did they do when they built that pipeline and well? Who did what in terms of maintaining the well over time? Did they do the required inspections?” Vairo said. Once those questions are answered in one case, they can be applied to the rest, she said.

Oil spill attorney Allan Kenner: “We are witnessing nothing short of a collapse of an ecosystem that took tens of thousands of years to create.”

Check back for more quotes from oil spill attorneys in the coming days.


Coast Guard’s New Excuse for 65-foot “Safety Zone” – Vandalism

Oil Spill Pictures, the Coast Guard, and the First Amendment. A New Excuse for the 65-foot “Safety Zone.”

The government has changed its excuse for the 65-foot “safety zone” announced by the Coast Guard this week. The new excuse? Vandalism. Yes, you read it correctly. Vandalism. It seems strange that Admiral Thad Allen didn’t mention vandalism when he announced the “safety zone.” But the Coast Guard changed its story after an outcry from the media and the public accusing the Coast Guard of trying to prevent oil spill pictures and accurate reporting on the oil spill clean up. People who venture inside the “safety zone” are subject to a $40,000 fine and a Class D felony conviction.

Click here to see oil spill pictures. [Read more…]


Oil spill pictures of Grande Isle: What are they covering up?

Oil spill pictures suggest a cover-up on Grande Isle – sand being used to cover up the oil.

Grande Isle, Louisiana – July 2, 2010 – Karen Dalton Beninato, writing at, asks the question, “Are Grand Isle’s oiled beaches being covered up with sand?” An oil spill picture she took Monday appears to show a dump truck dumping sand on the beach at Grande Isle. She wasn’t actually allowed to go onto the beach: access to the beach depended upon being taken there by an escort, and the escort happened to be “too busy.” That’s a shame, because Monday was the last day for civilians to walk the beach for a while without fear of being arrested, charged with a felony, and fined $40,000.

[Read more…]


XPrize May Award $10 Million Prize for Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Solution

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Suggestions: Prize May be Awarded for Oil Spill Solution.

June 28, 2010 – Francis Beland, a Vice-President at theGot a fix for oil spill? It may be worth a prize, announced today that the group may offer a $10 million XPrize for a smart idea for an oil spill solution to the Deepwater Horizon oil leak. In the past the XPrize people have offered similar awards for coming up with awards for private spaceflight or ultra-efficient automobiles. [Read more…]

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