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Fate of lawsuit rests with board member appointments

In September, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal may have an opportunity to change the board membership of the South Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East. The organization has been embroiled in a lawsuit against several pipeline, oil and gas companies. The suit alleges that the defendants’ drilling and dredging activities have been a factor in the degradation of the coastal wetlands, a natural hurricane buffer for the city of New Orleans.

According to backers of the lawsuit, an award is needed to provide funding to restore the wetlands. Jindal is opposed to the lawsuit, stating that it infringes on the state’s efforts to repair the coastline, is a windfall for litigators and is an assault against an important industry for the state. The current board supports the lawsuit with a 5-4 majority.

However, two terms are expiring, and a panel met on Aug. 28 to discuss plans to fill the upcoming vacancies. This may present an opportunity for Jindal to replace at least one supporter with a board member who opposes the suit. Members say that a vote cannot occur legally until September. In the meantime, the lawsuit is continuing to proceed in federal court.

When an individual is injured or property is damaged due to negligence on the part of a large company, he or she may choose to file a lawsuit in order to collect damages. A personal injury lawyer could review the case to determine whether an organization acted in a negligent manner. In addition to providing compensation for individuals who have been injured, a lawsuit may draw public attention to an issue such as widespread environmental damage.

Source: NewsOK, “Future of ‘Big Oil’ suit at stake as panel meets“, August 28, 2014

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