MDL Panel Set To Consider Centralization of BP Oil Spill Litigation Next Week
A panel of federal judges will hear arguments next week to determine whether the mounting federal litigation over the Gulf Coast oil spill should be centralized for pretrial proceedings as part of a multidistrict litigation, or MDL.
The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation is scheduled to meet July 29 in Boise, Idaho to consider whether 77 lawsuits filed against BP and other companies over the economic and environmental effects of the oil spill should be centralized before one judge. While the majority of the media attention and government focus has been on BP, formerly known as British Petroleum, most of the lawsuits also name Transocean Ltd., Cameron International Corp. and Halliburton Energy Services Inc. as defendants.
Oil spill lawsuits have been filed by shrimpers, oyster farmers, resorts and other businesses claiming that the man-made catastrophe has caused them to suffer economic loss. There are also lawsuits filed by states and environmental groups who are suing for damages over the environmental impact, and lawsuits from property owners whose beaches are now covered with tar balls and the corpses of fish and fowl dying as a result of the contamination from oil and dispersants used to break it up. In addition, there have been a number of Deepwater Horizon wrongful death lawsuits filed by family members of workers who died on the rig.
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Consolidation of the BP oil spill lawsuits before one judge as part of an MDL is designed to eliminate duplicative discovery, avoid contradictory rulings from different judges and to serve the convenience of the court, witnesses and parties. While the pretrial management of the cases in an MDL is often managed similar to how a BP oil spill class action lawsuit would be handled, each claim would still remain an individual lawsuit.
If the 77 federal lawsuits are consolidated into an MDL, they would all be transferred to one judge for further handling. In addition, as Gulf oil spill attorneys continue to review and file additional cases in federal court, those claims would also be transferred into the MDL for coordinated pretrial proceedings.
The gulf coast oil spill started shortly after the April 20 explosion and fire on the Deepwater Horizon sent the oil drilling rig to the bottom of the Gulf and unleashed an oil spill in the Gulf that is shaping up to be the worst environmental disaster in history. The blast killed 11 workers and sent tens of thousands of gallons of oil gushing from a mile-deep well in the ocean floor. It took three months for BP to successfully cap the well and staunch the flow of oil into the gulf.
The oil slick is obliterating sea life, ecosystems and waterfowl in the Gulf and Gulf Coast states, and oil is washing ashore in Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida. Last month, BP agreed to create a $20 billion fund to help gulf coast shrimpers, fishermen and oyster farmers, and other area businesses, recover from the damage of the disaster. But some experts say that the cost of litigation and environmental clean up could end up costing BP around $90 billion.
BP BULLSHITERJuly 19, 2013 at 8:32 pm
WHY ARE THEY FOUS ON WHAT BP WANT ?? THE THING IS THEY WERE FOUND GUILTY, IN ALL COUNTS. SO MENHADEN FISHMEN SHOULD GET A SETTLEMENT , ASAP. THEY LOST SO MUCH , THERE LIFE SHOULD BE CONSIDER FIRST. WHY IS IT SO HARD FOR A JUDGE TO SETTLE ,DAM IT BEEN THREE YEARS. AGREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
DaveJuly 23, 2010 at 4:15 pm
Alabama is also getting its coast and coastal waters fouled by the oil.
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