Civil Procedure

Avoid Chaos, Decide Now Where to Try Oil Spill Cases, Lawyer Urges Multidistrict Panel


As the tally of cases related to the still-gushing BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico tops 100, a Louisiana lawyer today urged a panel of federal judges to decide quickly to consolidate the litigation and determine where it should be pursued.

Although the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation said earlier that it didn’t expect to make a decision about consolidation until July, a decision is needed sooner, said Daniel Becnel, a Lousiana lawyer. reports the Associated Press. He wants the cases consolidated in New Orleans or another part of Louisiana; BP favors Houston, where the oil company is headquartered.

At least eight federal judges in two states have already begun proceedings in oil spill cases, and “it’s a mess,” says Becnel, adding: “The purpose of having the multidistrict panel is so you don’t have a lot of competing orders and you don’t waste a lot of time.”

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Kirkland & Ellis Is to Represent BP in Big-Ticket Oil Spill Litigation”

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