Last week, post-trial briefs for Phase I of the civil trial MDL-2179 Oil Spill by the Oil Rig “Deepwater Horizon” were filed in Judge Carl Barbier’s courthouse. According to local reports, BP stands by its contention that the DWH disaster of Apr. 20, which killed 11 men, was a horrific accident and they are not guilty of “gross negligence.” Predictably, those representing the US (Justice Dept) and Plaintiffs’ Steering Committe (PSC) don’t quite see it that way.
Phase II of this civil trial, which will determine how much oil flowed into the gulf, is not set to start until Sept. 16, but meanwhile the judge has some housekeeping to take care of.
This Thursday at 2:00 p.m., the Court will hold a status update teleconference accessible to the public that will cover issues such as claims from Mexico as well as post-Phase II case management. Anyone wanting to go in person can visit the courthouse, Room C-268 at 500 Poydras St.
In recent days, BP has come under increasing fire for its withdrawl from Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, a widely publicized exit that the oil company says was acceptable due to those areas of the Gulf having returned to “baseline condition.” The company points out they’ve invested “more than $14 billion and 70 million personnel hours on response and cleanup activities.”
Now there is grave concern that a similar halt could occur in Louisiana, the area hardest hit by BP’s assault on the region three years ago. Currently, BP has an active presence along Louisiana shoreline, which was reminded after Isaac that the oil hadn’t gone away — it was just dispersed elsewhere, and flowed back into marshes after the hurricane.
All of this makes the events happening in the New Orleans courthouse even more important. Long past the sexy period where protestors holding placards of oily brown pelicans has passed and Americans have turned their attention to Edward Snowden or George Zimmerman, a tough job continues for Barbier.
Per Judge Barbier’s staff:
An AT&T teleconference call line is set up for the status conference. Beginning at 1:45 p.m. on Thursday, parties who wish to attend the conference via telephone should dial (877) 941-1706 .
Emphases the Examiner’s.