Texas lawyer Coon repeatedly emerges in spotlight in BP litigation

Alejandro de los Rios Mar. 31, 2011, 8:40am

Texas plaintiff attorney Brent Coon has once again grabbed media attention in his ongoing campaign against BP.

Coon spoke out against the oil company an event March 28 in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. organized by the Northwest Florida Radio Broadcasters, according to a report in the Destin Daily News.

Coon said that that the Gulf Coast Claims Facility is in "the claims denial process" despite the presenters caveat that the event would not be a BP bashing session, according to the report.

Coon accused BP of stalling payments until claimants give up with the process all together, the report states.

This is the latest in a contentious history between Coon and BP. He represented dozens of plaintiffs in litigation relating to a 2005 explosion at BP's Texas City refinery, which left 19 people dead and 170 injured.

Coon was part of the plaintiff leadership committee in the subsequent litigation.

The event in Florida was not the first time Coon has spoken out against BP in public. In June 2010, Coon spoke at Harris Martin Publishing's Oil Spill Litigation Conference in New Orleans.

"BP has a very sophisticated remedial plan for P.R. (public relations)," he said. "Since they have so many disasters, they have a fine-tuned process."

After his presentation, Coon said that BP engaged in a campaign aimed at preventing media exposure of the Texas City blast. He said that BP security officers told a "60 Minutes" television crew they could not film an interview with the BP refinery in the background.

Coon has also inserted himself in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill multidistrict litigation (MDL) that is ongoing in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

After an unsuccessful bid to be a part of the Plaintiffs Steering Committee, Coon was appointed to the Plaintiffs' Discovery Committee.

At a BP oil spill MDL status conference in December 2010, Coon appeared in a brown blazer and jeans and abruptly introduced a computer hard drive containing millions of documents from the Texas City litigation discovery.

"I'm not sure what just happened," U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier said after Coon had presented the hard drive. The introduction of evidence was not placed on the day's agenda.

BP attorney Andrew Langan said he learned about the documents "about five seconds ago" when Barbier asked if he was aware of their content. Coon said that it was all the discovery he completed in the Texas City case which he made sure were left open to the public.

Some of the documents, however, fall under a confidentiality order by Barbier and from the Texas City case regarding trade secrets and other sensitive information.

Barbier later signed an order ensuring the documents fell under the confidentiality agreement.

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