…and then there were five – Judge Fallon steps aside

Law.com reports Another Federal Judge Recuses From Oil Spill Cases

On Tuesday, another federal judge in New Orleans stepped aside from handling oil spill cases, joining six other colleagues who have recused themselves in recent weeks. That means only five of the 12 available judges in the Eastern District of Louisiana can hear litigation over the Gulf of Mexico disaster.

Judge Eldon Fallon removed himself from oil spill cases on Tuesday because his son-in-law, Camilo Salas III, is an attorney of record in several oil spill cases. Salas of New Orleans-based Salas LC has three such lawsuits pending in the Eastern District of Louisiana. He also has a case in the Middle District of Louisiana and another in the Southern District of Florida.

Salas said he saw no current conflict of interest because none of his cases are in front of his father-in-law. However, he said, if and when the cases are consolidated in a multidistrict litigation down the road, then a conflict could have occurred.

“Chances are that, as long as I’m on the case, he will not be the MDL judge,” Salas said.

Plaintiffs lawyers are also speculating whether Chief Judge Sarah Vance will recuse herself because her husband, Patrick Vance, is the head of litigation at New Orleans’ Jones, Walker, Waechter, Poitevent, Carrere & Denegre, which is representing one of the oil spill defendants.

Patrick Vance would not disclose which defendant his firm is representing, saying only that the cases are not before his wife. Vance’s office would not comment on whether she will step down. Continue reading “…and then there were five – Judge Fallon steps aside”

America's Got Talent – Mississippi contestant sings to get his grandmother out of Katrina trailer

“It is really not that important that I win the contest or not,” Grimm, 30, told the Sun Herald on Wednesday. “I just hope it leads to something, so I can raise enough money to help my grandparents move out of their small trailer in Picayune.”

Grimm’s grandparents, Tommy and Laura Butters, lost their home in Hancock County when Hurricane Katrina hit the Coast in 2005.“Since then they have lived in this little trailer in the woods and my grandmother is miserable there,” Grimm said. “Now the Coast is dealing with the oil issue and there is a lot going on there.“I think entertainers should bring more attention to what is going on in Mississippi. That is what I am doing.”  h/t Sun Herald


Jim Brown bottom lines the BP Disaster

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

Baton Rouge, Louisiana



British Petroleum, the overseas oil giant, is under siege from every direction as they struggle to cap the massive Gulf oil spill. The BP stock price has plummeted 25% since the start of the spill, and company officials have been hauled daily before a litany of federal and state regulatory and legislative committees. It’s hard to keep track of the numerous daily lawsuits that have been filed all along the Gulf Coast. And in the latest salvo, Attorney General Eric Holder launched a criminal investigation, noting that there is “a wide` range of possible criminal violations.” But if BP collapses under the weight of all this cross fire, who are the real losers?

How about quit buying BP gasoline? Ralph Nader’s consumer-advocacy group Public Citizen is calling for a national moratorium to boycott BP gas stations. You can go to Facebook where thousands of members swear to bypass any BP retail outlets. But most of the BP service stations are independently owned, so a boycott hurts individual retailers who live in the local community that is doing the boycotting. Does this really hurt the BP corporate entity that operates internationally? Continue reading “Jim Brown bottom lines the BP Disaster”

Recused is the news: Guess who won't be on the bench when oil spill litigation goes to court?

Mary Ann Vial Lemmon, Lance M. Africk, Helen G. Berrigan, Ivan L.R. Lemelle,  Jay C. Zainey, and, in some cases, Kurt D. Engelhardt – and the only remaining question, IMO, is how long will it take NRB to post a comment to Bloomberg’s Judges Quit BP Gulf Oil-Spill Lawsuits Over Conflicts:

“We have five orders of recusal at the moment,” Gene Smith, chief deputy clerk of the New Orleans court, said in a May 28 telephone interview… A sixth, Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt, is also recusing himself from some cases, Judge Carl J. Barbier told lawyers last month. A seventh will join the group, he said.

Barbier, who didn’t include himself in the count, owns Transocean Sedco Forex notes and Halliburton Co. debentures, according to disclosure statements obtained from the Web site of Judicial Watch, a self-styled conservative advocacy group based in Washington.

According to the latest version of the Bloomberg story, “Barbier didn’t respond to a request for comment, left with one of his law clerks, on whether there is a conflict between his investments and the oil-spill litigation.”  However, Judge Barbier’s financial disclosure form is the answer that works for me.  Anyone who also owns a piece of Anheuser-Busch and Wal-Mart is man enough to not be influenced by Transocean and Halliburton! Continue reading “Recused is the news: Guess who won't be on the bench when oil spill litigation goes to court?”