ROBERT T. CUNNINGHAM APPOINTED TO SERVE ON PLAINTIFFS' STEERING COMMITTEE IN OIL SPILL LITIGATION
Hundreds of cases against BP and other defendants have been filed by scores of attorneys in courts throughout the United States. These cases include claims for wrongful death, personal injury, property damage, loss of income, environmental degradation, and loss of tax revenue. Typically, when this many cases are filed against the same defendants and all of the cases arise from the same incident, the court system consolidates the cases through a process called "multi-district litigation," or MDL. The oil spill litigation has been consolidated in New Orleans before Judge Carl J. Barbier as MDL 2179. Because there are so many individual plaintiffs, Judge Barbier appointed a committee of key attorneys who are now responsible for the management and control of the litigation on behalf of all of the plaintiffs.
Membership on the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee comes with important responsibilities. Mr. Cunningham will work with the other fourteen appointees to: (1) initiate and conduct all pretrial discovery on behalf of the plaintiffs; (2) prepare and file all motions and subpoenas related to testimony of witnesses and production of documents; (3) select the trial team that will participate in the first trials in these cases; (4) submit and argue motions to the Court; (5) and establish and maintain a comprehensive document depository, among other things.
“I am humbled to have been selected as a member of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee. I am grateful for this unique opportunity to help those who have suffered so terribly as a result of the oil spill. I understand the magnitude of the responsibility that I now have and I will do everything possible to ensure the best outcome on behalf of all the plaintiffs in this litigation,” said Mr. Cunningham.
Mr. Cunningham is the only attorney from the Alabama Gulf Coast who was selected to serve on the PSC.