NEW ORLEANS (CN) – A panel of federal judges will meet Thursday in Boise, Idaho to debate which court should host the hundreds of lawsuits filed against BP since the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The panel is comprised of seven U.S. judges who will decide whether the lawsuits should be consolidated and heard under a single judge in a single city, or whether two or more venues and judges are necessary.
The main possibilities for the venue are New Orleans and Houston, but attorneys arguing before the panel will propose other cities as well.
BP and Transocean, the owner of the rig that blew up April 20 and killed 11, are based in Houston.
Attorneys for the companies, along with attorneys for their other corporate co-defendants, will argue before the panel for Houston.
A handful of plaintiffs’ attorneys from Texas will also argue for Houston.
Because Texas is the one Gulf state to have been barely touched by the oil, any jury formed in Houston is likely to have been largely unaffected by the oil.
Attorneys may point out that a jury from New Orleans, which was directly affected by the oil, is likely to reflect that influence.
Arguments before the panel may take several days, as dozens of attorneys are scheduled to give arguments.