835 F.Supp.2d 175 (E.D.La. 2011), MDL 2179, In re Oil Spill by the Oil Rig DEEPWATER HORIZON in the Gulf of Mexico, on April 20, 2010

Docket Nº:MDL 2179.
Citation:835 F.Supp.2d 175
Opinion Judge:CARL BARBIER, District Judge.
Party Name:In re OIL SPILL BY THE OIL RIG
Attorney:Camille Augustus Morvant, II, District Attorney's Office, Lafourche Parish, Thibodaux, LA, Walter John Leger, Jr., Christine E. Sevin, Leger & Shaw, New Orleans, LA, Franklin G. Shaw, Leger & Shaw, Covington, LA, for Plaintiffs. Sherman Gene Fendler Stephen W. Wiegand Robert E. Holden Greg L. Joh...
Case Date:December 09, 2011
Court:United States District Courts, 5th Circuit, Eastern District of Louisiana
 
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835 F.Supp.2d 175 (E.D.La. 2011)

In re OIL SPILL BY THE OIL RIG " DEEPWATER HORIZON" IN THE GULF OF MEXICO, ON APRIL 20, 2010.

This Document Applies to:

Pleading Bundle " C," in part:

Local Government Entity Master Complaint (Rec. Doc. 1510) and cases by local government entities and certain States of the United Mexican States (10-1757, 10-1758, 10-1759, 10-1760, 10-2087, 10-2731, 10-2996, 10-2997, 10-4185, 10-4239, 10-4240, 10-4241).

MDL No. 2179.

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana.

December 9, 2011

Page 176

Camille Augustus Morvant, II, District Attorney's Office, Lafourche Parish, Thibodaux, LA, Walter John Leger, Jr., Christine E. Sevin, Leger & Shaw, New Orleans, LA, Franklin G. Shaw, Leger & Shaw, Covington, LA, for Plaintiffs.

Sherman Gene Fendler Stephen W. Wiegand Robert E. Holden Greg L. Johnson Liskow & Lewis, New Orleans, LA, Paul Matthew Jones, Stuart Theron Welch, April Leigh Rolen-Ogden, Liskow & Lewis, Lafayette, LA, for Defendants.

ORDER AND REASONS

[As to the Local Government Entity Master Complaint and certain other cases within Pleading Bundle " C" ]

CARL BARBIER, District Judge.

Before the Court are multiple Motions to Dismiss the Local Government Entity Master Complaint and other individual actions falling within Pleading Bundle " C." (Rec. Docs. 1152, 1421, 1422, 1423, 1424, 1781, 1782, 1783, 1786, 2214, 2218, 2220, 2221, 2224, 2442, 2636, 2638, 2642, 2657).1

I. BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

This Multi-district Litigation (" MDL" ) consists of hundreds of consolidated cases, with thousands of claimants. These cases arise from the April 20, 2010 explosion, fire, and sinking of the DEEPWATER HORIZON mobile offshore drilling unit (" MODU" ), and the subsequent discharge of millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Pretrial Order No. 11/Case Management Order No. 1 (Rec. Doc. 569) consolidated and organized claims into several " pleading bundles." As amended by Pretrial Order No. 33, Bundle " C" is defined as:

Public Damage Claims. This pleading bundle will include claims brought by governmental entities for, inter alia, loss of resources, loss of tax revenue, property damages, response or restoration costs, and civil penalties.

(Rec. Doc. 1549). Actions were filed by District Attorneys for certain coastal parishes in the State of Louisiana (Civ. A. Nos. 10-1757, 10-1758, 10-1759, 10-1760, 10-2087, 10-2731, 10-2996, 10-2997; hereinafter " Louisiana Parish DA Cases" ), four cities in the State of Alabama (Civ. A. No. 10-4185; hereinafter " Alabama Cities Case" ), and three States from the United Mexican States (Civ. A. Nos. 10-4239, 10-4240, 10-4241; hereinafter " Mexican State Cases" ), all of which were consolidated with this MDL. Motions to Dismiss were filed in response to these actions (Rec. Docs. 1152, 1421, 1422, 1423, 1424, 1781, 1782, 1783, 1786).

After these individual actions were filed, the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee was granted leave to file a voluntary Local Government Entity Master Complaint (sometimes referred to as " Master Complaint," Rec. Doc. 1510; Pretrial Order No. 33, Rec. Doc. 1549). Local government entities could adopt the Master Complaint by filing a " Local Government Short Form Joinder" into member case 10-9999 (Pretrial

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Order No. 33, Rec. Doc. 1549).2 Any answer, motion to dismiss, or other pleading filed in response to the Master Complaint was deemed responsive to the common legal and factual issues contained in individual civil actions within Bundle C as well (Stipulated Order of May 6, 2011, Rec. Doc. 2273). Multiple Motions to Dismiss were filed with respect to the Local Government Entity Master Complaint (Rec. Docs. 2214, 2218, 2220, 2221, 2224, 2442, 2636, 2638, 2642, 2657).

II. THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT ENTITY MASTER COMPLAINT

The Local Government Entity Master Complaint named the following Defendants: BP Exploration & Production, Inc. and its related entities (collectively, " BP" ), Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling, Inc. and its related entities (collectively, " Transocean" ), Halliburton Energy Services, Inc. and its related entities (collectively, " Halliburton; " ), M-I, LLC (" M-I" ), Cameron International Corp. (" Cameron" ), Weatherford U.S., L.P. (" Weatherford" ), Anadarko Petroleum Corporation Co. and Anadarko E & P Company LP (collectively, " Anadarko" ), MOEX Offshore 2007 LLC and MOEX USA Corp. (collectively, " MOEX" ), and Mitsui Oil Exploration Co., Ltd. (" MOECO" ). The Master Complaint asserts the following claims under general maritime law: negligence (asserted against all Defendants), gross negligence and willful misconduct (asserted against BP, Transocean, Halliburton, M-I, and Cameron), and products liability (asserted against Cameron, Halliburton, and Weatherford). Claims under the Oil Pollution Act (" OPA" ), 33 U.S.C. § 2701, et seq., are asserted against BP, Transocean, Anadarko, and MOEX. Under state law, the Master Complaint asserts certain common-law and statutory claims: public nuisance and nuisance (asserted against BP, Transocean, Halliburton, M-I, Cameron, and Weatherford), trespass (same), fraudulent concealment or suppression of material facts (asserted against BP, Halliburton, and Transocean), the Florida Pollutant Discharge Prevention and Control Act, Fla. Stat. § 376.011, et seq. (asserted by Florida plaintiffs against BP and Transocean), the Louisiana Oil Spill Prevention and Response Act (" LOSPRA" ), La. R.S. 30:2451, et seq. (asserted by Louisiana plaintiffs against all Defendants), penalties under La. R.S. 56:40.1, et seq. (same), and the Texas Oil Spill Prevention and Response Act of 1991, Tex. Nat. Res.Code Ann. § 40.001, et seq. (asserted by Texas plaintiffs against all Defendants). Punitive damages are sought under general maritime law. Finally, the Master Complaint requests a declaratory judgment that " any settlement provisions that purport, directly or indirectly, to release or to affect the calculation of punitive damages without a judicial determination of fairness, adequacy, and reasonableness are ineffective as contrary to law, equity and public policy."

The Court has previously issued rulings in this MDL on the Motions to Dismiss the complaints by the States of Alabama and Louisiana (" Order on the States' Actions," Rec. Doc. 4578) and the Motions to Dismiss

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the B1 Master Complaint (" B1 Order," Rec. Doc. 3830). Those rulings resolve all of the issues raised by the instant Motions to Dismiss with respect to the Local Government Master Complaint. Accordingly, the Court finds as follows:

1. All claims pled under state law, including penalties under state law, are dismissed. ( See Order on the States' Actions, Rec. Doc. 4578 at 6-17; B1 Order, Rec. Doc. 3830 at 8-18; see also note 5, infra ).

2. General maritime law claims that do not allege physical...

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