Lawsuits that target the energy industry and allege environmental damage from production activities decades ago are a growing problem in Louisiana, Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch (LLAW) says on its website.
According to the LLAW, more than 1,000 oil and gas producers have been caught up in litigation and there is “mounting evidence that these cases are much more about making green than being green.”
“It is disappointing that city leaders have decided to engage the City of New Orleans in the fray of coastal lawsuits targeting Louisiana’s job-creating energy industry,” LLAW Executive Diector Lana Sonnier Venable recently told the Louisiana Record.
Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch Executive Director Lana Sonnier Venable | Photo courtesy of Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch
Venable said the courts are designed to be forums for resolving specific disputes between parties to a case, not to weigh public policy outcomes and impose broad regulatory rules.
“Even if the city is successful in these lawsuits, the only clear winners will be the trial attorneys who stand to make millions,” Venable said. “There is no guarantee that any damages recovered would actually be used for coastal restoration activities.”
Venable said these kinds of lawsuits will only continue to move Louisiana in the wrong direction and “reinforce our reputation as one of the worst states in the country to do business.”
In an article published on its site, the LLAW said Gov. John Bel Edwards is in an “ongoing effort to hire his top political supporters in litigation to shakedown the oil and gas industry for billions of dollars to restore the state’s eroding coast.”
LLAW said studies show the impact of excessive civil tort costs on Louisiana economy and point to the state’s civil justice system as a leading factor in lost jobs and revenue.
Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch was formed in 2007 with the goal of raising awareness about the costs and consequences of lawsuit abuse and urging elected officials to bring more balance to Louisiana’s civil justice system.