I previously posted about Attorney General Jim Hood’s State lawsuit against Microsoft and the $8.3 million attorneys fee paid to a group of lawyers that included Jackson lawyer Brent Hazzard, Susman Godfrey of Houston and David Boies’ firm. The prior posts are here, here, and here. It looks like Jake and Elwood are putting the band back together to make a run at BP and the other usual suspects in the Gulf Oil Spill Litigation.
Here is the Class Action Complaint that the group filed in Houston, Texas on behalf of an Alabama resident. The complaint’s class definition is:
All Gulf of Mexico residents who claim injury and/or damages as a result of the April 20, 2010 fire and explosion which occurred aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and the resulting oil spill.
I’m not sure what to make of a class of “Gulf of Mexico residents.”
In handling complex litigation, our firm is guided by two principles, both of which reduce expense without sacrificing chances for success. First, less is best. Excess discovery is not just nonproductive, it often is counterproductive. Excess discovery removes the element of surprise at trial, forces the opposition lawyers and witnesses to get prepared earlier than they otherwise would, and often takes the eyes of the lawyers who engage in it off the ball. The best lawyers are best able to handle (and create) surprise at trial. We believe in retaining our natural advantage.
I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a statement like this in print—but I completely agree. That’s a truly outstanding observation. I’ve tried to explain this concept to other lawyers and have had trouble articulating it. Many young defense lawyers are trained to conduct excess discovery, but they don’t know why. Sometimes the reason is that it creates more billable hours, but more often it’s inertia in a system where that’s how it has always been done.
David Boies (pictured) is a legal heavyweight who has been the subject of at least two books. Just yesterday I blogged about his penchant for wearing the same cheap suit to trial every day. If he truly engages in the oil spill litigation, then this group is more likely to end up in a leadership role in the litigation.
Brent Hazzard is also somewhat of a mystery to me. I recently met him and he seemed like a good guy. But we didn’t get into his background and experience.
So far this is one of many complaints filed by many groups of lawyers. But it is one to keep an eye on.