Barbier impressed by cooperation in BP MDL discovery process

By Alejandro de los Rios | Jul 11, 2011



Speaking at a status conference for the BP oil spill multidistrict litigation (MDL), U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier said he had never seen a discovery process on a similar scale.

BP attorney Don Haycraft said 130 depositions have been taken in New Orleans and in Great Britain, with 58 more scheduled in July.

Haycraft said that attorneys in the MDL are conducting three to four depositions again, some simultaneously, and called it an "amazing feat of logistics."

Barbier remarked that plaintiff and defense attorneys' "cooperation and civility and professionalism ... exceeded my expectations."

Barbier and Haycraft also specifically pointed out the efforts of Magistrate Judge Sally Shushan, who has been working daily from attorneys on both sides of the litigation to help coordinate depositions.

Shushan also made the trip to Great Britain for the depositions taking place there. Barbier said it was remarkable that he was able to follow the proceedings on his computer via webcam.

"Although, I couldn't tell if Judge Shushan was there," Barbier joked. "I thought that maybe she was at a nearby pub."

Barbier prompted laughter from the courtroom when he remarked that he had asked Shushan to signal her presence in some way because she was not on camera, and Shushan complied by coughing.

In addition to the depositions, Haycraft said that BP alone has turned over 3 million pages of documents to the plaintiffs and it is among the largest discovery processes he's been a part of.

Federal MDL 2:10-md-2179

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