Mississippi Litigation Review & Commentary

Mississippi Litigation Review & Commentary

Comments on the Latest Developments in Mississippi Civil Litigation

Philip is a trial attorney based in Jackson, Mississippi with a diverse civil litigation practice.

Category Archives: Gulf Oil Spill Litigation

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Mikal Watts Has a New Lawyer

Posted in Gulf Oil Spill Litigation, U.S. District Courts in Mississippi
Mikal Watts has a new lawyer in his criminal fraud trial related to the BP Oil Spill Litigation. Watts was represented by Rob McDuff of Jackson. McDuff is one of the most well known and respected criminal lawyers in Mississippi.¬† He’s top notch. Watts apparently fired McDuff and replaced him with……himself. Watts’ new lawyer is… Continue Reading

Mikal Watts: I’m Ready for Trial

Posted in Gulf Oil Spill Litigation
This update from the BP Oil Spill attorney criminal prosecution. In response to some of his co-defendants’ motion for continuance, on Friday Texas attorney Mikal Watts filed this response. From the response: Mikal Watts objects to a delay in the trial. Mr. Watts is ready to go to trial, answer the allegations, and prove his… Continue Reading

Texas Lawyer Indicted in Mississippi For Lying to Get on BP Steering Committee

Posted in Gulf Oil Spill Litigation
A federal court grand jury in Mississippi indicted Texas lawyer Mikal Watts for conduct related to the BP oil spill litigation.Watts is familiar to Mississippi lawyers who worked on the silica MDL in Corpus Christi back in the early 2000’s. From the My San Antonia article: The charges stem from allegations that Watts fraudulently bolstered… Continue Reading

More From the Lawyers Shouldn’t File Stuff Like this Chronicles

Posted in Gulf Oil Spill Litigation
As if getting crushed in the BP Oil Spill litigation wasn’t enough, District Judge Carl Barbier is calling out BP’s lawyers for cheating by sneakily exceeding the Court’s 35-page brief limit. My favorite article on the ruling is from the Christian Science Monitor.¬†From the article: The BP legal team had tried to reduce the line… Continue Reading

Two Years Later, BP Oil Spill Still Killing Marine Life and Destroying Fisheries

Posted in Gulf Oil Spill Litigation
Nearly two years after the BP Gulf Oil Spill—and BP funded tourism commercials to the contrary—life is not back to normal for the Gulf of Mexico and Gulf Coast residents.  Food Safety News reports on the lack of recovery in the oyster industry. The article reports:  Two years later, fourth generation oysterman Nick Collins said there is… Continue Reading

Justice Department Starts Indicting People for Filing Bogus Oil Spill Claims

Posted in Gulf Oil Spill Litigation
The New York Times reports that the Department of Justice has charged eight people with filing fraudulent damages claims related to the BP Oil Spill. The article describes some of the indictments: Among those charged were Cam T. Hang of Louisiana, who, according to the Justice Department, demanded $42,000 for business losses related to a… Continue Reading

BP Oil Spill Update: It’s a Gusher for Feinberg Rozen as Plaintiff Lawyers Head for the Exits

Posted in Gulf Oil Spill Litigation
It’s looking more and more like the big winners in the BP Oil Spill Litigation will be Ken Feinberg’s law firm Feinberg Rozen and defense lawyers. The WSJ Law Blog reported Monday that Plaintiff lawyers are heading for the exits:  Plaintiffs’ attorneys who put money up front to hire experts are fretting about their investments,… Continue Reading

Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee for BP Oil Spill MDL Dominated by Lawyers from Large Firms

Posted in Gulf Oil Spill Litigation
Want to be on an exclusive MDL plaintiffs’ steering committee? Then you need to be an attorney in a large plaintiffs firm—the type that generally does not exist in Mississippi. That’s my take away from reviewing the list of attorneys on the Plaintiffs’ steering committee in the BP Oil Spill MDL. Here is Judge Barbier’s… Continue Reading

WSJ Article Makes Plaintiff Lawyers Sound Like Defense Lawyers When there is MDL Litigation

Posted in Gulf Oil Spill Litigation
A Monday article in the Wall Street Journal takes a look at the MDL process. The article noted that in MDL actions, plaintiff lawyers have to compete for the work: For plaintiffs’ attorneys the streamlining can be brutal. While hundreds of attorneys may be representing clients in the cases, judges typically pick only a handful… Continue Reading

WSJ’s Latest Blasting of Attorney General Hood Goes Too Far

Posted in Gulf Oil Spill Litigation, Politics in Mississippi
Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal ran this editorial tilted “Mississippi Justice on Email”. The article makes a poor attempt to connect the Scruggs State Farm litigation to Attorney General Jim Hood’s request to Congress that it rewrite federal law to allow Mississippi to sue Gulf Oil Spill companies in state court. In attempting to make a connection that is… Continue Reading

Oil Spill Plaintiff Lawyers Battle Over Who Gets to Argue at the MDL Hearing

Posted in Gulf Oil Spill Litigation
There is a dispute brewing among Louisiana plaintiff lawyers over who will get to argue at the MDL Panel hearing on July 29, 2010 that all oil spill cases should be transferred to Louisiana. Some lawyers want New Orleans lawyer Russ Herman to argue for the Easter District of Louisiana at the hearing. That prompted this lengthy response email from Louisiana… Continue Reading

Newsflash: It’s Not Just Plaintiff Lawyers Who Stand to Lose Revenue Due to BP Claim Funds

Posted in Gulf Oil Spill Litigation
The Wall Street Journal ran this article on Thursday about plaintiffs’ lawyers and the BP oil spill. The article states: Plaintiffs’ attorneys are scrambling to avoid being frozen out by a $20 billion fund aimed at compensating Gulf of Mexico oil-spill victims outside of court. According to Louisiana attorney Daniel Becnel: "People are firing their… Continue Reading

Investigators Close to Identifying BP Employees Who Helped Prepare Disaster Response Plan

Posted in Gulf Oil Spill Litigation
The Sun-Herald reports that BP didn’t consider hurricanes in its oil spill response plan: Rep. Edward Markey says BP’s disaster response plan for an oil spill doesn’t mention hurricanes or tropical storms. Markey says the omission is yet another example of what the oil giant was not prepared to handle. The Massachusetts Democrat’s comments came… Continue Reading

Drill Baby Drill?

Posted in Gulf Oil Spill Litigation
As Louisiana companies ask a federal judge to lift the ban on deepwater drilling, the issue of whether to continue drilling in the Gulf following the BP Horizon disaster is a big topic of conversation. On Sunday the Clarion-Ledger ran competing opinion articles on whether offshore drilling should be banned. Louis Miller of the Sierra Club… Continue Reading

According to AP Article, Less than Half Federal Judges in Gulf States are Eligible to Preside over Oil Spill Cases

Posted in Gulf Oil Spill Litigation
According to this AP article, less than half the federal judges in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas are eligible to preside over oil spill cases due to connections with the oil industry. The article relies on 2008 disclosure forms. The article states: Thirty-seven of the 64 active or senior judges in key Gulf Coast… Continue Reading

After Friday’s Bizarre Fifth Circuit Non-decision, Gulf Oil Spill MDL Should Not be Located in 5th Circuit

Posted in 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, Gulf Oil Spill Litigation
On Friday the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals did about the most bizarre thing that I can recall an appellate court ever doing in the Comer v. Murphy Oil case: dismissed an appeal without deciding it because it did not have a quorum to decide the case. Needless to say, it’s caused a huge stir that you… Continue Reading

Judge Ozerden Stays Gulf Oil Spill Cases Pending Decision by MDL Panel

Posted in Gulf Oil Spill Litigation, U.S. District Courts in Mississippi
As expected, Southern District Judge Sul Ozerden has begun staying the Gulf Oil Spill cases pending a decision on whether an MDL will be created in the litigation. Here is one of Judge Ozerden’s orders.  I am not aware of any of the defendants filing a substantive response to the complaints before entry of the stay orders.… Continue Reading