BS spilling at BP “non-political[sic], independent[sic] commission – “seemingly acceptable risks adding up to disaster”

Oh, come now – even the Easter Bunny is political in Washington – but the American people are supposed to believe the Commission investigating  BP’s gulf oil spill disaster is conducting  a “non-political, independent” inquiry.  According to today’s Sun Herald, the Commission was on a roll yesterday.

The commission came up with 13 preliminary temporary conclusions. Like BP, it found that the oil and gas traveled up the center of the pipe in the well, rather than up the sides — a finding that was disputed by Halliburton on Monday. The company has been criticized by the panel’s investigators for pumping faulty cement and having tests in hand that showed it would fail. If the blowout started in the space between the pipe and the underground rock, Halliburton’s cement would be less of a factor.

However, the Commission can’t roll over the evidence.   Judge Barbier snatched prize eggs –  the blown out blowout  and, more recently, cement from the well – and put them in his basket.

Like kids who can’t find where the eggs are hidden, the Commission’s investigators testifying yesterday said, the ” BP oil rig explosion and spill wasn’t about anyone purposely trading money for safety…Instead it was more about seemingly acceptable risks adding up to disaster”: Continue reading “BS spilling at BP “non-political[sic], independent[sic] commission – “seemingly acceptable risks adding up to disaster””

Latest on BP oil spill litigation – the Mississippi Litigation Review reports

Phillip Thomas, the blogging attorney of the Mississippi Litigation Review (MLR) has two excellent posts up on the BP oil spill litigation.   MLR is linked to SLABBED under Law Blogs in the right sidebar; and, if you visit there you will find Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee for BP Oil Spill MDL Dominated by Lawyers from Large Firms and BP Oil Spill Update: It’s a Gusher for Feinberg Rozen as Plaintiff Lawyers Head for the Exits

Thomas’ post on the Steering Committee links Judge Barbier’s Order that names the members of the Steering Committee:  Brian H. Barr, Jeffrey A. Breit, Elizabeth J. Cabraser,Philip F. Cossich, Jr., Robert T. Cunningham, Alphonso Michael Espy, Calvin C. Fayard, Jr., Robin L. Greenwald, Ervin A. Gonzalez, Rhon E. Jones, Matthew E. Lundy, Michael C. Palmintier, Paul M. Sterbcow, Scott Summy, and Mikal C. Watts:

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 Order rendered Friday with the names of the fifteen lawyers on the plaintiffs’ steering committee. Most of the lawyers appointed to the committee practice with large plaintiff firms. The even more exclusive executive committee is composed of four lawyers: James Roy, Russ Herman, Brian Barr and Scott Summy.

My interpretation of the Order is that the steering committee will run the entire litigation. Lawyers who represent victims—but who are not on the steering committee—appear to be getting squeezed out of the litigation.

The only Mississippi lawyer on the steering committee is Continue reading “Latest on BP oil spill litigation – the Mississippi Litigation Review reports”

Judge Barbier shines in Lightell! – Chip Merlin spotlights the Decision

I started my morning read-around with Can an Insured Recover Under a Flood Policy and an All Risk Homeowners Policy for the Same Damage? on Merlin’s blog – and that plus the beautiful sunshine here in the “Bold New City” just made my day.

Chip did his usual good job spotlighting the significant points in the decision and his post in total is below.  However, he didn’t mention the name of the judge and – call it a side-effect of my exposure to the corruption in Jefferson Parish and the pending impeachment of Thomas Porteous- but, nowadays, that’s the first thing I want to know about a Louisiana court decision.  If you follow the link to the case as I did, you’ll find this victory for justice credited to one of the truly Honorable federal district judges in the Eastern District of Louisiana,  Carl J. Barbier.

In Louisiana, the answer is probably “yes.” The FC&S pondered this question in its March 2010 Dec Page report titled, “Recovery Under Flood Policy and Homeowners Policy?” The highlighted case was Lightell v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co., 2009 WL 4505942 (E.D.La. 2009). The article noted the significant facts and issues as follows:

The insured suffered property damage due to the wind and flood caused by Hurricane Katrina. They collected partial payment of their policy limits from both the homeowners and flood insurance policies. Believing that the payments were not indicative of the extent of the actual damage to the home, the insured filed a lawsuit against the insurers. State Farm, the homeowners insurer, filed a motion for summary judgment.

State Farm asserted that the insured is estopped from recovery related to wind claims because he previously alleged that he was entitled to flood policy limits due to the total destruction of the property. And, the insurer said that the insured has the burden of proving the damage was caused by wind (a covered loss) as opposed to flood (not covered).

The Federal Court wrote an interesting section on estoppel, which arises in these types of cases, and the burden of proof. Regarding the estoppel issue, the Court noted: Continue reading “Judge Barbier shines in Lightell! – Chip Merlin spotlights the Decision”