Federal Judge Denies Discovery Requests for Plaintiffs Unhappy with BP Settlement Offer
U.S. Magistrate Judge Sally Shusan, a federal judge out of New Orleans, announced that she would reject calls by some plaintiffs for further evidence to be admitted before deciding on a proposed settlement between BP and Gulf Coast residents injured by the 2010 oil spill.
Judge Shusan ruled that several plaintiffs would not be permitted to collect additional evidence in preparation for a November 8 hearing where U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier will decide whether the proposed class-action settlement is fair to all involved parties.
Though the settlement agreement was decided upon by both BP and a large committee representing plaintiffs, it is not final until it has been officially certified by Judge Barbier. Barbier has been designated the judge in charge of overseeing the massive litigation.
Judge Shusan provided several reasons for rejecting the requests for further discovery, noting that a deadline for discovery requests was September 7 and it would not be extended. Attorneys for several individual plaintiffs argued that they were not given enough time to gather evidence to demonstrate how unfair BP’s current settlement offer is.
The plaintiffs’ attorneys are not the only people raising concern about the fairness of the deal. Louisiana’s attorney general also express concern that the state’s fishing industry was not well compensated enough in the proposed settlement given the severe damage the industry has suffered.
While it’s possible that the plaintiff’s could get more money at trial, the question before Judge Barbier in November is only if the total offer, estimated to be around $7.8 billion, treats the parties fairly. The issue is not whether plaintiffs could conceivably extract more money from BP. It’s understood by many of the attorneys involved that such settlement offers are often discounted to reflect the fact that the risk and expense of a major trial was avoided.
If you’ve been impacted by the BP oil spill, don’t hesitate to contact the Mississippi oil spill attorneys at Kobs & Philley at (601) 863-8170. Currently, we are accepting VOO claims, claims for Commercial Fisherman, claims for Recreational Fisherman, claims for Personal Lost Income and Business Lost Income, and claims for Owners of Waterfront Property. Call us today to ensure that you are not left behind and we will fight to get you the compensation you deserve!
Source: “Federal judge denies calls for more evidence on BP settlement hearing,” by Emily Pickrell, published at FuelFix.com.