U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier issued a pre-trial order Wednesday rewording language defining the pleading bundle for government entities in the BP oil spill multidistrict litigation (MDL).
The order rewords the definition of "Public Damage Claims" to say "Local public bodies or entities may voluntarily join or otherwise intervene into one administrative Master Complaints[sic] for Bundle C claims, or may opt out of the Master Complaint and file their own separate individual petitions or complaints."
The order also creates Civil Action No. 10-9999 "for the sole and limited purpose of allowing governmental bodies or entities to file a ... ["Local Government Short Form Joinder"].
Civil Action No. 10-9999 will contain no defense responses or motions, as those will continue to be filed in the BP MDL.
The order comes after complaints filed by Gulf States attorneys general regarding Barbier's appointment of coordinating counsel for federal and state governments and plaintiff's counsel's motion for a master complaint for government entities.
At the February status conference held at federal court in New Orleans, plaintiff attorney Jim Roy said that the master complaint for government entities is "completely voluntary."
Alabama attorney general Luther Strange, who was coordinating counsel for state's interests, also said that the master complaint was optional, and is just a way for governments to join the BP MDL through a short-form joinder.
Federal MDL 2:10-2179