Proposals will be filed privately on a new oil spill trial
U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier will consider proposals privately on the form the rest of the trial over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill will take, The Times-Picayune reports. Barbier, an appointee of President Bill Clinton, will meet with the parties in the litigation on May 3 in his chambers to discuss ideas for a reconstituted trial. Proposals on those trial plans are due on April 26, but they will be submitted directly to the judge rather than filed in the court docket, the court confirmed today. Ever since a partial settlement was reached in early March between BP and the committee of plaintiffs' attorneys in the oil spill litigation and the first phase of the massive trial over liability was indefinitely postponed, questions have swirled about what form the rest of the trial would take. The biggest sources of claims—those from the U.S. government and states over environmental and economic damages and penalties—still exist against all of the defendants in the litigation. And while the plaintiffs committee may have settled its grievances with BP—the leaseholder on the ill-fated Macondo well—under the terms of the settlement with BP, the plaintiffs assumed BP's massive claims against Transocean, the owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig, as well as those against Halliburton, the company that performed the cement job on the well. The plaintiffs also had their own claims against those companies, but until the settlement, those claims were a lower priority than claims against BP. Other claims from local governments and injured rig workers and affected businesses also exist.
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