Miami, Florida – On October 8. 2010, U.S. District Court Judge Carl Barbier issued a pre trial order appointing 15 lawyers to the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee (PSC) of the Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill multi-district litigation . Over 100 Trial attorneys from across the U.S. applied for the appointment to serve on the committee. “The Deepwater Horizon BP Oil Spill is the largest manmade disaster in recent history and the litigation that will arise from it will be enormous,” said Ervin A. Gonzalez of Colson Hicks Eidson, who is one of the 15 attorneys selected to serve on the PSC. “The purpose of service on the PSC is to help the victims of this tragic disaster and ensure the protection of the environment and our community. PSC members work together with all counsel that have cases to efficiently and effectively manage discovery and pretrial matters in the litigation process.”
On April 20, 2010 the Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico killing 11 platform workers and injuring 17 others. The oil spill, also referred to as the BP oil spill, flowed for months in 2010, spewing million gallons of oil per day from the ocean floor before it was capped off. On September 19, the relief well process was successfully completed and the federal government declared the well “effectively dead”. While the oil flow has stopped, the impact of the spill continues and much of the damage still remains to be seen. The spill has caused extensive damage to marine and wildlife habitats as well as the Gulf’s fishing and tourism industries and scientists have reported dissolved oil on the Gulf floor. Additionally, some of the chemical agents used in dispersing the oil are known carcinogens and the effects of their use will not be known for a long time. “We don’t know the extent of the damage yet,” said Gonzalez. “We need to make sure that we hold BP responsible and that they pay for the damage to life, environment, property and livelihood that they have caused. We need to make sure that those who have been affected and are yet to be affected don’t sign away their right to litigation in a quick claim process with BP Oil.”
Hundreds of cases have already been filed in numerous affected states. On August 10, 2010 The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPMDL) decided to consolidate hundreds of personal injury and economic damages claims related to the BP PLC Gulf of Mexico oil spill to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana and assigned Federal Judge Carl Barbier to oversee the litigation. The 15 lawyers selected by Judge Barbier to serve on the PSC include: Ervin A. Gonzalez of Coral Gables, Florida; Jeffrey Breit of Norfolk, Virginia; Elizabeth Cabrasar of San Francisco, California; Philip Cossich of Belle Chasse, Louisiana; Alphonso Espy of Jackson, Mississippi; Calvin Fayard of Denham Springs, Louisiana; Robin Greenwald of New York, New York; Rhon Jones of Montgomery, Alabama; Matthew Lundy of Lake Charles, Louisiana; Michael Palmintier of Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Pail Sterbcow of New Orleans, Louisiana; Scott Summy of Dallas, Texas; and Mikal Watts of Houston, Texas.