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Oil Spill Litigation News: EPA On BP Dispersants, New Suits & More

Courtesy of HB Litigation Conferences' Oil Litigation & Insurance Report.  Details and subscription info at

Here are brief takes on just some of the stories we're working on for HB's Oil Spill Litigation & Insurance Report.  Our subscribers are getting the complete details automatically.  To become one of them, sign up now.  Click here to go to our newsletter signup page, call us at (484) 324-2755 x212 or simply drop us an email at

EPA: BP Dispersant No More Toxic Than Oil

The dispersant used by BP to break up oil plumes in the gulf is no more or less toxic than other dispersants approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for oil spill response, the oil alone or mixtures of oil and other dispersants, the EPA announced Aug. 2. The peer-reviewed research results constitute the second and final round of testing on eight EPA-approved dispersants. EPA released data results on the first round of testing, finding that none of the dispersants, including Corexit 9500A, used by BP, cause biologically significant endocrine disruption in marine species tested. Toxicity tests in the first round showed that the dispersants alone had approximately the same effect, with Corexit 9500 the least toxic to small fish and two other dispersants the least toxic to mysid shrimp.

Environmentalists Demand Dispersant Data from EPA

Claiming the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) "failed" to answer their Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request promptly, Florida's Wildlife Federation and the Gulf Restoration Network are seeking a federal court order to get information about the chemical dispersants BP plc is using to break up the oil spill resulting from the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform explosion in the Gulf of Mexico.

Gulf Groups Sue Department of Interior

Gulf Restoration Network Inc., a group of commercial and recreational fisherman, environmental and citizens' groups and individuals in all five Gulf States, and Sierra Club Inc. are suing the Department of the Interior's approval of BP plc's oil spill response plan submitted to authorize the company's plan to drill offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. The members of these groups, which rely on and use the waters of the gulf, have been injured by DOI's Minerals Management Services' "arbitrary and capricious" approval of BP's insufficient blowout plan in July 2009, they say.

Mississippi Governor Halts State's Lawsuit Against BP

Concerned about disruption of payment of claims, on July 29, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour sent a letter to Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, asking that the State's lawsuit against BP plc be postponed to allow the claims process under Kenneth Feinberg's supervision and the Natural Resource Damage Assessment under the Oil Pollution Act to play out first. He noted that when the State of Alaska sued Exxon to recover damages from the Exxon Valdez spill, Exxon ceased paying claims.

Rig Workers Fund to be Administered by Baton Rouge Foundation

On July 30, BP announced that the $100 million it promised to make available to unemployed oil rig workers will be administered by The Baton Rouge Area Foundation, a charity organization established in 1964. The Rig Worker Assistance Fund will be administered through the Gulf Coast Restoration and Protection Foundation, a supporting organization of The Baton Rouge Area Foundation.

Fishermen File Injury, Medical Monitoring Suit

Louisiana fishermen operating as a vessel of opportunity doing controlled burns of surface oil have sued the major parties involved in the Deepwater Horizon rig and oil spill response for exposure to massive amounts of chemicals. The lawsuit also includes a class action component for the establishment of a class-wide medical monitoring program to be supervised by the court for all volunteers and vessels of opportunity crew members suffering from exposure to oil and chemicals. The exposure of workers and crew poses an increased risk of developing various forms of cancer, it says.

Alabama Suit Alleges Exposure During Recreational Fishing

A Mobile, Ala., man has sued BP and other parties for exposure to oil and dispersants while fishing for flounder, wading in the waters of Mobile Bay for hours. Unaware of the dangers of such chemicals, Obie Carlisle sustained rashes, breathing problems and nose bleeds a short time later and continuously.

Transocean 'Artificially Inflated' Price Of Securities, Shareholders Claim

As the BP oil spill continues to churn up a variety of litigation, some Transocean Ltd. shareholders are pursuing a securities fraud class action against the company for those who purchased or acquired Transocean Ltd. securities between Aug. 5, 2009, and June 1, 2010. Claiming Transocean Ltd.'s share price was "artificially inflated" with false and misleading statements, shareholder Donald P. Foley is pursuing a class action complaint against the company that was filed on July 9 in the U.S District Court for the Southern District of New York.

HB's Oil in the Gulf Conference Set for November in Miami

After an important and sold-out first conference, HB has scheduled its second version of the "Oil in the Gulf: Litigation & Insurance Coverage Conference."  The program will take place in Miami on November 4-5, 2010.

Chairing the event will be Richard Faulk of Gardere Wynne Sewell in Houston; Mike Papantonio of Levin Papantonio Thomas Mitchell Echsner Rafferty & Proctor, Pensacola, Fla. and Philip Silverberg of Mound Cotton Wollan & Greengrass in New York.

Click HERE for the latest information and to register.  Or simply call us at (484) 324-2755 x212 for special rates.

Also, you can still get the recording and materials from the first conference.  Click HERE for more information. Learn and get CLE (depending on your state bar rules).