JACKSON, Miss. (Legal Newsline) - Kenneth Feinberg, the man tasked with paying out Gulf oil spill claims, has filed his objection to having a lawsuit against him heard in a Mississippi court.
Feinberg filed his opposition Sept. 26 to Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood's motion to remand the lawsuit, which seeks to enforce a subpoena against the Gulf Coast Claims Facility. Feinberg is the executive director of the GCCF.
Hood filed his motion to remand the case, originally filed in Hinds County Chancery Court, on Sept. 12. Feinberg says the issue raises federal issues of law, not state.
"Plaintiff seeks an order requiring the GCCF to comply with a sweeping administrative subpoena duces tecum calling for the production of all its documents concerning the (federal Oil Pollution Act) claims process, and also requiring defendants to pay plaintiff his attorneys fees and costs," Feinberg's memorandum says.
"The conclusion that plaintiff is seeking to regulate the OPA claims process rather than investigate possible violations of state law is illustrated by two key points. First, the Mississippi
Consumer Protection Act, which is the purported basis for the subpoena, only covers consumer activities, and GCCF claimants are plainly not.
"Second, the subpoena demands many documents that relate solely to the GCCF's internal operations, rather than its communications with claimants, and that therefore are irrelevant to any MCPA investigation."
In August, Feinberg had the suit removed to federal court in Jackson. He wanted the matter stayed until it is determined if the suit should be transferred to the BP oil spill multidistrict litigation in New Orleans.
Feinberg argued in his removal notice that the lawsuit should be heard in federal court because it concerns the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and the Class Action Fairness Act.
Hood's motion to remand said, "The state of Mississippi has not filed a substantive complaint stating a cause of action and requesting relief; therefore, it has not initiated a civil action in this matter.
"The attorney general is engaged in a strictly pre-litigation investigation of the activities of the GCCF and Mr. Feinberg pursuant to the attorney general's duty under the Mississippi Consumer Protection Act."
From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at email@example.com.