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Wednesday, April 24, 2024 | Back issues
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Attorney Sues BP for Damage to Practice

NEW ORLEANS (CN) - A Biloxi criminal defense lawyer sued BP, Transocean and the other oil-spill defendants in Federal Court, saying his business was hurt by the oil spill, and his claim for relief to BP's Gulf Coast Claims Facility was denied.

James Davis III, whose law office has specialized in criminal defense and personal injuries since 1984, says he's had to lay off an attorney and a secretary since the oil spill "drastically reduced his clients' ability to pay for legal services".

Davis says his claim to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility was denied on July 1. When he asked to appeal, he says, he was told "that the process and time limits to file an appeal were uncertain," and that he would get a response "at a later date."

Davis adds: "The legal claims office through Ken Feinberg claims they are doing a good job. The plaintiffs do not agree with Mr. Feinberg's assessment of his performance."

Feinberg oversees the Gulf Coast Claims Facility for BP, and is paid by BP, an arrangement that has produced some legal grumbling.

Davis' 6-page complaint states: "The Law Office of Jim Davis, primarily a criminal practice, had a substantial client base of individuals with criminal backgrounds who worked offshore on rigs and commercial fishing vessels. Other clients included local residents who worked in seafood processing plants, hospitality and food service, and tourists cited for DUI and other charges while visiting the area. All of these industries and businesses sustained a devastating economic impact by the BP oil spill, and drastically reduced his clients' ability to pay for legal services, resulting in greatly diminished profits and layoffs of one attorney and one secretary."

Davis sued BP, Transocean, Halliburton, Triton Asset Leasing, Sperry Drilling Services, Weatherford U.S. LLP, Cameron International Corporation, MI Swaco, Anadarko, MOEX and Mitsui Oil Exploration Company, and affiliates - but not the Gulf Coast Claims Facility.

He claims that the defendants "either conspired to create this oil spill and subsequent clean-up of the Gulf of Mexico, or were negligent or grossly negligent relating to same or are responsible under the doctrine of 'respondent superior.'"

Davis did not return phone calls seeking comment. He filed the complaint pro se.

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