US judges hear arguments on merging of oil spill lawsuits

A panel of US judges heard arguments from lawyers on Thursday on how piles of oil spill-related lawsuits against BP Plc should be merged, more... More Below... Posted by on Jul 29th, 2010 and filed under US.

A panel of US judges heard arguments from lawyers on Thursday on how piles of oil spill-related lawsuits against BP Plc should be merged, more than 2,000 miles or 3,200 km from the Gulf of Mexico shoreline.

As part of its regularly scheduled rotation among federal courts, the panel meeting in Boise, Idaho did not immediately rule on how it would handle the mounting civil litigation brought against BP and other defendants involved in the worst offshore oil disaster in US history.

A decision is expected within several weeks.

At stake is whether civil lawsuits from injured rig workers, fishermen, property owners, investors, and others will be combined in Houston, where BP has its US headquarters and wants the cases heard, or New Orleans, the preferred venue for many plaintiffs—or elsewhere. The litigation is too massive for any one court to handle, some lawyers argue.

(Thanks to Reuters and Wikipedia)