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Ala. AG wants trial date set in Gulf Coast states' suit against BP

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Apr 23, 2012



MONTGOMERY, Ala. (Legal Newsline) - Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange is urging a federal judge in Louisiana to set a trial date to hear claims of lost tax revenue by the state and Louisiana against oil giant BP.

Strange's comments came Friday, the two-year anniversary of the Gulf oil spill.

The accident killed 11 workers and resulted in the largest offshore spill in U.S. history -- an estimated 210 million gallons of oil.

"Eleven men lost their lives and thousands of Gulf Coast residents lost their livelihoods," the attorney general said in a statement. "Unfortunately, two years later, the story has not ended.

"Oil still lies off Alabama's coastline. Many Alabamians still have not been compensated for their losses, and the State has still not been made whole by BP and the other defendants."

When Strange took office in January 2011, he made it his top priority to hold BP and the other defendants accountable for the spill. Soon after, he was named coordinating counsel for the Gulf Coast states' lawsuit.

In January, Louisiana Attorney General James "Buddy" Caldwell was named co-coordinating counsel.

"I am committed to keeping the pressure on all of those responsible for the 2010 oil spill until the job is done. Millions of Alabamians expect and deserve nothing less," Strange said Friday.

"Today, on the second anniversary of this terrible disaster, I call upon the district court to set a trial date so that this case may end. Now is the time for the federal and state governments to have their day in court.

"Alabama is ready for trial, and we look forward to moving forward as expeditiously as possible."

Last month, BP reached an agreement with hundreds of thousands of private individuals and businesses affected by the spill. The proposed settlement is worth an estimated $7.8 billion.

BP said the money will be paid to the plaintiffs from a $20 billion trust fund set up by the company.

Under the proposed deal, the company would be released from claims by eligible members of the class action who were affected by the explosion and fire that occurred on Transocean's drilling rig Deepwater Horizon, licensed to BP, on April 20, 2010.

Strange said the class-action settlement could initiate, and speed up, talks of a settlement in the Gulf Coast states' lawsuit against the oil company.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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