Thursday, May 27, 2010

BP Goes Judge Shopping

It's not unknown for some litigants to go "judge shopping" - trying to get their cases heard before a judge known to have, shall we say "helpful" leanings. Usually it's something they try to keep quiet. Not British Petroleum. They're judge shopping and they know just who they want - US District Judge Lynn Hughes.

With more than a hundred suits already brought against BP arising out of the Deepwater Horizon spill, BP has asked that all pre-trial motions in all suits be heard by Judge Hughes. McClatchey Newspapers explains why that might be:

That judge, U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes, has traveled the world giving lectures on ethics for the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, a professional association and research group that works with BP and other oil companies. The organization pays his travel expenses.
Hughes has also collected royalties from several energy companies, including ConocoPhillips and Devon Energy, from investments in mineral rights, his financial disclosure forms show.

Hughes, appointed to the bench in 1985 by then-President Ronald Reagan, declined to comment for this report.

Legal experts say the request for a single judge, while not unprecedented, is unusual, and they surmise BP is seeking rulings from a judge well-versed in the company's issues.

Edward Sherman, a law professor at Tulane University in New Orleans who has closely followed the BP legal maneuvers, said BP probably studied Hughes' past rulings and his caseload before suggesting he take the cases.

"Probably studied Hughes' past rulings"? Gee, I guess that's possible. Sure, BP's lawyers probably studied Hughes decisions just like the sun will probably come up again tomorrow morning.

Read more:

No comments: