Florida governor urged by congressmen to sue BP, is considering options

By Alejandro de los Rios | Apr 14, 2011


Several reports out of Florida indicate that Governor Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi are considering whether or not to join the litigation over the BP oil spill.

The Miami Herald reported March 12 that U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) has written two letters to Scott asking him to pursue legal action against BP and other responsible parties in the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

The deadline for filing suits in the multidistrict litigation (MDL) held in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana is April 20, the one year anniversary of the disaster.

The Herald report quotes Tampa attorney Steve Yerrid – appointed as special counsel on the oil spill by former Governor Charlie Crist – as saying that Florida not filing a claim "cannot be adequately explained."

Scott told a group of reporters on March 11 that his goal is "to try to work with BP and make sure we don't end up in litigation," the Herald reported.

On March 13, the Palm Beach Post quoted Scott as saying "we're looking at our options."

To date, the state of Florida has not filed a lawsuit in the BP MDL or a claim with the $20 billion Gulf Coast Claims Facility.

State Rep. Rick Kriseman (D-St. Petersburg) said, even if it just wanted to deal with the GCCF, Florida should file a suit to "strengthen our hand," the Post report states.

Yerrid, who is not involved in any oil spill litigation, is quote in the Post story as not being comfortable "in concluding what Florida should do."

"My judgment is when there's a claims process and we're a non-participant that's probably not going to be good for us in the long run," Yerrid is quoted as saying.

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