Judge Carl Barbier has ordered that BP employees be deposed in New Orleans, according to an order signed on Monday in U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Louisiana.
BP lawyers in the multidistrict litigation (MDL) involving the Deepwater Horizon explosion and Gulf of Mexico oil spill had argued against setting the depositions in New Orleans. Defense counsel went as far as claiming that Barbier does not have the authority to determine the location of depositions unless the witnesses are "managing agents" of BP.
Barbier disagreed with defense arguments, stating that his approach "is consistent with the approaches taken by other MDL courts."
Barbier also dismissed BP's claims that the company would be inconvenienced by sending employees to New Orleans because "BP is a large international corporation engaged in business on several continents ... including to and through South Louisiana."
Barbier stated that plaintiff and U.S. attorneys "have their support staffs and document repositories in New Orleans" and those parties have hired a New Orleans court reporting service as well as rented out and equipped office space across the street from the courthouse.
Depositions are set to begin on Jan. 18. Barbier stated that his order does not pertain to BP employees residing in the United Kingdom.
Federal MDL 2:10-2179