Coon seeks spot on BP litigation steering committee

Steve Korris Sep. 15, 2010, 10:32am


Brent Coon of Beaumont, Texas seeks a position with a group that will run the plaintiff side of national oil spill litigation.

On Sept. 13, he applied for a steering committee that U.S. Multi District Judge Carl Barbier of New Orleans will select.

"No firm to my knowledge has spent more time litigating with BP than the firm of Brent Coon and Associates," Coon wrote.

"My firm invested millions of dollars in developing the liability case in the last major explosion involving BP for the benefit of thousands of claimants," he wrote.

"I also have been involved in owning and operating an oil field equipment services company and have a unique perspective and understanding of a number of issues and practices in the industry, particularly in drilling services and blowout prevention," he wrote.

Barbier presides over federal spill suits by appointment of the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multi District Litigation.

The suits allege wrongful death, personal injury, property damage and economic loss.

The multi district panel consolidated 77 suits from Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida on Aug. 10, and assigned them to Barbier.

He already presided over 33 of them as district judge for Eastern Louisiana.

The panel transferred 26 more to him on Sept. 8, including two each from Tennessee, Georgia, and Kentucky, and one each from Virginia and California.

The panel has conditionally transferred 116 more, giving parties two weeks to object.

In multi district litigation, a lawyer who filed a suit surrenders control to a steering committee like the one Coon hopes to join.

Coon's application stated that he has offices from Boston to San Francisco, including Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

"I have personally tried hundreds of claimants' cases to verdict and my firm has broad depth and experience at handling environmental and mass consolidation actions, going back to the 1980s," he wrote.

He wrote that his firm has handled tens of thousands of individual cases including "petrochemical industry explosions, occupational diseases, consumer class actions, pharmaceutical injuries and aviation tragedies."

His firm serves as counsel to AFL-CIO, petrochemical unions, and "various aviation, law enforcement and industrial labor forces," he wrote.

He wrote that he served as lead counsel in Galveston County court for 3,000 casualty cases from a BP refinery explosion at Texas City in 2005.

He personally deposed more than 200 experts and BP executives including the chief executive in London, Coon wrote.

"Settlement amount kept confidential," he wrote.

He listed previous multi district experience with asbestos, Vioxx, Bextra, Ortho Evra, Levaquin, and air crashes in Honduras and Spain.

He wrote that his firm testified before Congress and helped draft safety legislation.

He praised his publicity skill, telling Barbier he provided hundreds of interviews on the petrochemical industry.

"These include all of the major TV news outlets, national and international wire services, newspapers, and journals covering these types of issues," he wrote.

"We have assisted with numerous documentaries in the US and abroad," he wrote.

He wrote that he represents or has represented about 8,000 asbestos cases in ongoing litigation in Texas and about 1,300 in Cuyahoga County, Ohio.

Though he operated out of Beaumont for years, he gave a Houston address.

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