U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier signed a pre-trial order finalizing the creation of "pleading bundles" to help group similar lawsuits filed against BP and other defendants.

The order separates all claims filed in relation to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill into four groups: personal injury and death, private individuals and business loss claims, public damage claims and injunctive and regulatory claims. The order also states that cases added down the line "shall be assigned to a Pleading Bundle," according to the guidelines.

Barbier presides over BP oil spill lawsuits in the Eastern District of Louisiana.

The individual and business loss claims will be made up of all non-governmental economic loss and property damage suits, RICO claims and post-explosion cleanup and emergency responder claims.

Injunctive and regulatory claims will include claims against private parties and claims against the government, both of which "will be pled separately and uniformly in a Master Complaint," according to the order.

The order states that the "Pleading Bundles set forth in this Order are provisional and may be modified on the Court's own motion or for good cause shown by any party."

A filing deadline for all claims was set for Dec. 15. The defendants are then to file any responses to all the suits by Jan. 18, 2011 except for wrongful death claims, which requires a response from each named defendant by March 18, 2011.

The Nov. 15 deadline for all Transocean limitation claims, which were transferred to the Southern District of Texas, has been extended to April 20, 2011.

Federal Case 2:10-cv-04168-CJB-SS

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