Lawyers Scramble to Sue BP

Gusher of litigation expected to dwarf Valdez suits
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 2, 2010 4:00 AM CDT
Workers taken ill after cleaning up oil are among the many groups planning to sue BP.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
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(Newser) – Even if it manages to plug the Gulf leak tomorrow, BP is facing a gusher of lawsuits likely to keep flowing for decades. Lawyers are scrambling to file ever-bigger lawsuits on behalf of people affected by the Deepwater Horizon explosion and its aftermath, including rig workers, shrimpers, and tourist businesses. Billboards seeking oil-affected clients have appeared on Louisiana highways and some lawyers are searching for clients as far away as the Florida Keys, where a drop of Gulf oil has yet to wash up.

Environmental groups are filing suits of their own and the opening of a criminal inquiry into the disaster is likely to fuel yet more legal activity. Lawyers believe the BP suits will prove at least as complex as the litigation that followed the Exxon Valdez spill, some of which took 20 years to resolve. "Time is the enemy of the pursuit of deterrents, compensation and justice," one lawyer tells the Wall Street Journal, warning that some of her clients ruined by the Exxon spill died before seeing a penny in compensation. "All haste must be made."

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