The second major hearing in the BP oil spill multi-district litigation (MDL) is set to begin at 9:30 a.m. before U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in the Eastern District of Louisiana in New Orleans.
Since the last hearing on Sept. 16, Barbier had appointed 17 attorneys to serve in leadership roles in the MDL against BP.
The order, which was signed Oct. 8, appoints plaintiff liaison counsel Lafayette attorney James Parkerson Roy and New Orleans attorney Stephen Herman, along with Pensacola attorney Brian Barr and Dallas attorney Scott Summy to comprise the Plaintiff Executive Committee.
Discovery was a serious point of contention between plaintiff and defense counsel at the first hearing. BP attorney Andrew Langan said that the defense has already provided more than 600,000 pages of documents to the plaintiffs.
Plaintiff liaison counsel Jim Roy argued that the defense was seeking to limit discovery until the master complaint was filed and that it was the plaintiff's right to aggressive discovery.
Barbier ordered plaintiff and liaison counsel to meet in seven to 10 days after the hearing to hash out the timing and scope of discovery and to have something ready for the Oct. 15 hearing.
An order signed Oct. 6 revealed that plaintiffs could not hash out an expedited trial with Transocean Ltd., one of the named defendants associated with the Deepwater Horizon drill explosion.
As a result, the original trial date of October 2011 was continued to Feb. 27, 2012.