U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier granted a plaintiff motion for leave to amend a pre-trial order on the issue of subpoenaing government entities for environmental specimens.
Barbier ruled towards the end of a pretrial conference in the multidistrict litigation involving the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill in the U.S. Eastern District of Louisiana on Thursday.
He allowed leave to file subpoenas if plaintiff lawyers send copies of informal drafts of any subpoena they wish to issue to government and defense lawyers, no less than 15 days before formally serving.
Plaintiff lawyers were seeking to subpoena government bodies in order to obtain samples of water, air, animals and anything else in the environment that could help establish the extent of damage caused by the spill.
Michael Underhill with the U.S. Department of Justice said that the process of collecting environmental samples is complicated and his department must confer with other government entities on the availability of such samples before being asked to comply with a subpoena.
Underhill and defense counsel did not raise an objection to the court's ruling.