SW Legal studies in Business

BP Oil Spill Cases Centralized in One Court
Description

A judicial panel that rules on complex litigation determined the federal district court in eastern Louisiana would be the most appropriate location to centralize the scores of suits filed to date arising from the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Topic Court Procedure
Key Words

Complex Litigation; Centralization; Oil Spill

C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts

Seventy-seven suits have been filed in federal courts in Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Texas, and Louisiana regarding the large BP oil spill that resulted from the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig. Some plaintiffs moved to centralize actions in the Eastern District of Louisiana, while BP moved for centralization in the Southern District of Texas. A judicial panel on multidistrict litigation considered the motions.

Decision

Litigation will be centralized in the Eastern District of Louisiana. Due to the complexity of the litigation and the multiple parties involved, centralization of the actions was warranted for pretrial proceedings as the actions share factual issues concerning the causes of the incident and the roles various defendants may have played in matters. To conserve the resource of the parties, counsel, witnesses, and the judiciary, one court will handle the matter, both for personal injury and wrongful death actions, and for claims arising under the Oil Pollution Act. The Louisiana court is located closest to the “center of gravity” of the events and where the largest number of parties are congregated.

Citation

In re Oil Spill by the Oil Rig “Deepwater Horizon” in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010, ---F.Supp.2d--- (2010 WL 3166434, U.S. Judicial Panel, Multiple Litigation, 2010)

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