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Wrongful Death, Environmental Claims Transferred to N.O., Part 2

Previously, we talked about the recent decision by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to consolidate and transfer a number of oil spill and environmental contamination-related cases to the Eastern District of Louisiana. While the judges transferred most cases related to the BP spill, the stopped short of ordering all matters be transferred there.

The panel did not order the maritime proceedings involving Transocean be transferred to the Eastern District of Louisiana, but said it may address that issue in the future. Transocean had previously brought a case in federal court in Houston hoping to limit its liability for the explosion and resulting oil spill to $26.8 million under various laws including The Limitation of Liability Act.

The judge hearing that matter in Houston, reportedly cancelled a hearing scheduled for last week, which may be a sign that this case will also be transferred to New Orleans. At this time, Transocean has not said whether it would fight to prevent the matter from being transferred away from Houston.

So far, the only legal cases that have not been among those transferred to New Orleans are the shareholder lawsuits brought against BP. Those cases are most likely to be heard by the judge in a Houston federal court because they deal more with the corporation's safety record and disclosures to shareholders than the actual damage resulting from the oil spill.

In the end, there are hopes that transferring some of these cases to Louisiana will help in efficiently handling all of the litigation that is bound to result from the explosion and oil spill. Judge Barbier, the Eastern District of Louisiana judge chosen to hear the various claims, reportedly has a long history managing consolidated litigation as well as oil spill claims.

Related Resources:

Oil Spill litigation will be heard in N.O. (New Orleans Times Picayune)

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