Feinberg removes Miss. AG's oil spill suit to federal court

By John O'Brien | Aug 16, 2011


JACKSON, Miss. (Legal Newsline) - Nearly a month after being sued by Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, Kenneth Feinberg - the man put in charge of compensating victims of the BP oil spill - has removed the case to federal court.

Feinberg did so Thursday, arguing that the lawsuit filed by Hood in Hinds County Chancery Court should be heard in federal court because it concerns the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and the Class Action Fairness Act.

"The state court action arises out of or in connection with BP's Deepwater Horizon drilling activities, which were an operation conducted on the Outer Continental Shelf that involved the exploration, development or production of minerals of the subsoil and seabed of the Outer Continental Shelf within the meaning of (federal law)," Feinberg's notice of removal says.

In March, Hood said he planned to put pressure on Feinberg, the director of the Gulf Coast Claims Facility. The month before, Hood's office served Feinberg with a subpoena asking for full access to the GCCF's claims records so it could review them.

Hood says Feinberg has failed to comply with that subpoena.

The attorney general, in his lawsuit, asked the court to order Feinberg and the claims facility to fully comply with his subpoena.

Feinberg is also making the argument that Hood's lawsuit involves more than $5 million and a large number of Mississippi citizens, making it a class action. It's a similar argument that has been made in other recent cases involving state attorneys general, including lawsuits filed by Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw.

An explosion and fire occurred on Transocean's drilling rig Deepwater Horizon, licensed to BP, on April 20, 2010, killing 11 workers and resulting in the largest offshore spill in U.S. history.

From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at jobrienwv@gmail.com.

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