Shrimpers file class action over Gulf Coast oil spill

By Michelle Massey | May 3, 2010



Another class action has been filed over the April 20 fire and explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon oil rig and its resulting oil spill.

Commercial shrimpers Acy J. Cooper, Jr. and Ronnie Louis Anderson filed suit in federal court in New Orleans April 28, proposing to include all Louisiana residents who live, work in, or derive income from the Louisiana coastal zone and who have sustained loss or damages due to the incident.

Cooepr and Anderson filed individually and on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated against BP, BP Products North America, BP America, Transocean, Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling, Transocean Deepwater, Halliburton Energy Services and Cameron International Corporation, formerly known as Cooper Cameron Corporation.

Attorneys Daniel E. Becnel, Jr., Matthew B. Moreland, Salvadore Christina, Jr. and Robert M. Becnel of Becnel Law Firm of Reserve are representing the plaintiffs.

The suit claims that the fire, explosion and oil spill were caused by the joint negligence and fault of the defendants and therefore, under the Oil Pollution Act, the defendants are responsible for the damages.

The oil slick is headed towards the Louisiana coast and continues to threaten the marine environments, the plaintiffs claim. The spill has caused a loss of revenue for people and businesses being prevented from using the Gulf of Mexico and Louisiana's coastal zone for work activities, according to the class action filed.

Cooper and Anderson allege that the defendants did not provide appropriate accident preventative equipment, failed to observe or read the gauge that indicated the well was under excessive pressure, provided BOPs that did not work properly and improperly conducted well and well cap cementing operations.

The defendants are accused of negligence for failing to properly operate or inspect the Deepwater Horizon, failing to implement and enforce rules pertaining to the safe operations of the Deepwater Horizon and operating the oil rig with untrained and unlicensed personnel. They are accused of failing to timely warn and bring the oil release under control.

The proposed class action is asking the court to award economic, compensatory, and punitive damages, pre-judgment and post-judgment interest, attorney's fees and costs of litigation.

A long list of co-counsel includes Camilo K. Salas III of Salas & Co. of New Orleans, James C. Klick, Russ Herman and Stephen J. Herman of Herman, Herman, Katz & Cotlar of New Orleans, Richard Arsenault of Neblett, Beard & Arsenault of Alexandria, Brian H. Barr, Amanda R. Slevinski, Neil E. McWilliams, Jr. and Benjamin W. Gordon, Jr. of Levin, Papantonio, Thomas, Mitchell, Echsner, Rafferty & Proctor of Pensacola, R. Edison Hill of Hill, Peterson, Carper, Bee & Deitzer of Charleston, W.V., Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Kevin J. Madonna of Kennedy & Madonna of Hurley, N.Y., J. Keith Givens, J. Farrest Taylor, Angela J. Mason and Joseph D. Lane of The Cochran Firm of Dothan, Ala., Jerrold S. Parker and Andres F. Alonso of Parker Waichman Alonso of Port Washington, N.Y., and Hugh P. Lambert and Linda J. Nelson of Lambert & Nelson of New Orleans.

Jury trial demanded. U.S. District Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt is assigned to the litigation.

Case No 2:10cv01229

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