BATON ROUGE – Attorneys representing Louisiana State University researcher Dr. David Dismukes have filed a motion to quash a deposition request by the Carmouche Law Firm.
Dismukes, associate director and professor at the Center for Energy Studies at LSU, released a study in late February revealing the state economy had lost an estimated $6.8 billion and missed out on the creation of more than 30,000 jobs over the past eight years due to lawsuits filed on behalf of property owners who claim environmental damages from past energy extraction activities.
The filing states that a deposition of Dismukes was requested under an ongoing "legacy lawsuit" trial and that the subpoenas are a transparent attempt by the plaintiff's attorneys to discredit Dismukes' report on the economic significance of the report's findings.
The trial in question pits Spanish Lake Restoration, LLC against Shell Oil Company. LSU's attorneys rejected the notion that he could be subpoenaed in the matter because he had no direct knowledge of the case.
The filing also questioned the timing of the requested deposition as 16 bills have been introduced for debate in the state legislature that would reform the way legacy lawsuits are handled.
The university invoked Dismukes' First Amendment rights in their rebuttal and called the allowance of such a deposition a dangerous move that would create a chilling effect on the right of free speech for Dismukes and academic freedom in Louisiana as a whole.