BP denied access to White House emails in oil spill litigation

Alejandro de los Rios Jul. 20, 2011, 2:14pm


U.S. Magistrate Judge Sally Shushan has denied a request by BP attorneys to obtain emails sent by a former adviser to President Barack Obama during the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

A letter sent by BP attorney Robert Gasaway on July 7 asked Shushan for permission to obtain emails sent by Carol Browner, a former Presidential adviser on energy and climate.

"There appears to be material [White House] involvement in the government's response to the oil spill and spill volume estimation process," the letter states.

On July 15, BP filed a formal motion for discovery seeking the emails sent by Browner.

Shushan ruled July 20 that "BP has not made a sufficient demonstration of the need for the documents."

Shushan's order also states that the "U.S. will produce communications concerning source control and quatification between agencies and the [Office of the President]."

Should the documents show further discovery is warranted, BP is allowed to re-file its motion, Shushan wrote.

Shushan is helping coordinate discovery between the parties involved in the massive multidistrict litigation (MDL) surrounding the BP oil spill.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier is presiding over the thousands of lawsuits filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana against BP and its partners as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oilrig explosion and subsequent spill.

Federal MDL 2:10-md-2179

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