Friday, April 26, 2013

OTHERWISE: Oyez Project Supreme Court Archive finishes job begun by Peter Irons

OTHERWISE: Oyez Project Supreme Court Archive finishes job begun by Peter Irons:

NPR reports that Chicago Kent's Oyez project has provided the great service of completing its archives of Supreme Court oral arguments going back to 1955.
As of just a few weeks ago, all of the archived historical audio — which dates back to 1955 — has been digitized, and almost all of those cases can now be heard and explored at an online archive called the Oyez Project.
Oyez Project founder and director Jerry Goldman tells NPR the digital recordings archive began in the early 1990s from a simple idea: to give the public access to unabridged Supreme Court recordings.
Peter Irons
But the account leaves out the groundbreaking work of historian and lawyer Peter Irons whose 1993 May It Please the Court presented the audio tapes of arguments before the court in twenty two landmark cases.  Irons had permission to listen to the tapes but not to copy them, reportedly annoying Justice William Rehnquist.  It was a tiny act of civil disobedience for Irons who was a draft resister who had spent time in federal prison for his defiance of the draft....

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OTHERWISE: A step forward for immigrants facing deportation

OTHERWISE: A step forward for immigrants facing deportation:

We deport hundreds of thousands each year -  a consequence that for many is far more severe than that provided by our criminal laws.  Fifty years ago the Supreme Court in Gideon v. Wainwright mandated counsel for those who are charged with a crime and cannot afford a lawyer.  Today there is wide recognition that there is a crisis of representation due to the unavailability of counsel for huge numbers of aliens facing removal from the country.

A step forward has now been crafted in an important ruling by a federal judge in California’s Central District - a place where the pastures of plenty are often harvested by immigrants.  Though the numbers affected are small, the remedial innovation  is important.  

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Oil Spill Compensation - U.S. and China

These are the powerpoint slides  prepared for my May 2013 trip to China.  The focus is on on the frustrations of Chinese aquaculturists who were stymied by the courts there and so resorted to suing Conoco Phillips in Houston where its world headquarters are located.  The reference point is, of course, the BP Gulf Oil Spill comepsnaiton scheme.  Developed under the Oil Pollutions Act, the matter was largely resolved through a class action settlement managed by Judge Carl Barbier, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana. -  GWC
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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Bohai Bay oil exploration supervision to be boosted|Society|

Bohai Bay oil exploration supervision to be boosted|Society|

China will strengthen supervision of offshore oil exploration in Bohai Bay through various measures including radar, satellite and marine patrols to detect environmental problems quickly, according to Wang Fei, deputy director of the State Oceanic Administration.
Wang said marine pollution in the bay has worsened in recent years due to booming energy and resources development. The administration needs to improve supervision of the bay, improve the emergency plan for oil spills, and increase public transparency, Wang said.
Earlier this month, fishermen in Shandong province noticed oil slicks in the bay, but an investigation by the North China Sea Branch under the administration detected no oil spill, after offshore patrols, use of satellite images and sample tests.
Wang Zhongguo, a Shandong fisherman, applied to the administration for oil samples he took on April 16 to be retested.
The administration asked for the sample to be retested, with a key laboratory receiving it on Friday and saying the result will be released soon.

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Monday, April 22, 2013

What BP Doesn’t Want You to Know About the 2010 Gulf Spill - Newsweek and The Daily Beast

BP Oil Spill
An agonizing 87 days passed before the BP oil spill was finally sealed off. According to US government estimates, 210 million gallons of Louisiana sweet crude had escaped into the Gulf, making this disaster the largest unintentional oil leak in world history. (Benjamin Lowy/Getty)
What BP Doesn’t Want You to Know About the 2010 Gulf Spill - Newsweek and The Daily Beast:
by Mark Hertzgaard

What has not been revealed until now is how BP hid that massive amount of oil from TV cameras and the price that this “disappearing act” imposed on cleanup workers, coastal residents, and the ecosystem of the gulf. That story can now be told because an anonymous whistleblower has provided evidence that BP was warned in advance about the safety risks of attempting to cover up its leaking oil. Nevertheless, BP proceeded. Furthermore, BP appears to have withheld these safety warnings, as well as protective measures, both from the thousands of workers hired for the cleanup and from the millions of Gulf Coast residents who stood to be affected.The financial implications are enormous. The trial now under way in New Orleans is wrestling with whether BP was guilty of “negligence” or “gross negligence” for the Deepwater Horizon disaster. If found guilty of “negligence,” BP would be fined, under the Clean Water Act, $1,100 for each barrel of oil that leaked. But if found guilty of “gross negligence”—which a cover-up would seem to imply—BP would be fined $4,300 per barrel, almost four times as much, for a total of $17.5 billion. That large a fine, combined with an additional $34 billion that the states of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida are seeking, could have a powerful effect on BP’s economic health.Yet the most astonishing thing about BP’s cover-up? It was carried out in plain sight, right in front of the world’s uncomprehending news media (including, I regret to say, this reporter).

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Analysis: BP's legal gamble may trim spill bill by billions | Reuters

Analysis: BP's legal gamble may trim spill bill by billions | Reuters:

(Reuters) - BP Plc's attempt to get a U.S. federal court to pin at least a sizeable amount of the blame for the Deepwater Horizon disaster on other companies may have saved it billions of dollars.

After failing to settle claims from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico spill through negotiations, the British oil company opted in February to go to trial with plaintiffs ranging from small businesses to the U.S. government over the damages it will face.

The decision rests with U.S. District Court Judge Carl Barbier, who could issue findings on blame and the level of negligence as early as July.

Legal experts say BP appeared to succeed in shifting some of the blame for the disaster to rig owner Transocean Ltd and cement provider Halliburton Co. In doing so, it may have shaved a slice off a liability that could stretch into the tens of billions of dollars.

BP "put their faith in the hands of the court," said Blaine LeCesne, a tort law professor at Loyola University in New Orleans who has followed the trial closely. "It looks like that might have paid off."

'via Blog this'

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Phase 1 trial ends in U.S. v. BP case - Bloomberg

BP Still Uncertain Over Spill Cost at Third Anniversary - Bloomberg:

Trial Ends

Barbier will decide fault for the incident and whether BP or its contractors were grossly negligent, which could trigger higher damages or fines. As BP presented its last witness April 17 at the nonjury trial over liability for the accident, Barbier said he wouldn’t issue an immediate decision.
The judge said he would probably give lawyers for BP, its co-defendants, private party plaintiffs and the U.S. 60 days to submit their arguments and proposed findings to him. He said he would also provide 20 days for replies. Nothing will happen before the filings and the decision may linger beyond this summer.
Barbier has said that he may not issue a judgment on fault and gross negligence before a scheduled second phase of the trial set for Sept. 16. That phase will concern the size of thespill and the efforts to contain it. Barbier said he’s considering a third phase to determine penalties. Damages trials would follow.

'via Blog this'

V.A. Aims to Reduce Its Backlog of Claims -

V.A. Aims to Reduce Its Backlog of Claims -

Under pressure to reduce its immense inventory of disability claims for injured and sick veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced on Friday its plans to process 250,000 claims that are one year or older within the next six months.
The plan calls for regional offices of the Veterans Benefits Administration to issue so-called provisional rulings on all claims that are one year or older, provided a minimum level of evidence has been submitted to support those claims.
If claims are given provisional approval, veterans will start receiving benefits immediately, said Allison A. Hickey, the under secretary for benefits. Those benefits are based on ratings that quantify the severity of a disability. If veterans believe that their ratings are too low, they will have a year to submit additional information.

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Gideon’s Muted Trumpet - Paul Butler -

Gideon’s Muted Trumpet -
by Paul Butler, Georgetown Law School
FIFTY years after the Supreme Court, in Gideon v. Wainwright, guaranteed legal representation to poor people charged with serious crimes, low-income criminal defendants, particularly black ones, are significantly worse off.Don’t blame public defenders, who are usually overwhelmed. The problem lies with power-drunk prosecutors — I know, because I used to be one — and “tough on crime” lawmakers, who have enacted some of the world’s harshest sentencing laws. They mean well, but have created a system that makes a mockery of “equal justice under the law.” A black man without a high school diploma is more likely to be in prison than to have a job.
A poor person has a much greater chance of being incarcerated now than when Gideon was decided, 50 years ago today. This is not because of increased criminality — violent crime has plunged from its peak in the early 1990s — but because of prosecutorial policies that essentially target the poor and relegate their lawyers to negotiating guilty pleas, rather than mounting a defense.

'via Blog this'

Friday, April 19, 2013

J.& - J. Wins Court Challenge Over Hip Device -

J.& - J. Wins Court Challenge Over Hip Device - "A jury in Chicago rejected claims on Tuesday that the orthopedics unit of Johnson & Johnson inappropriately marketed an artificial hip, which the company recalled in 2010. The verdict came in the second trial of some 10,000 pending lawsuits involving the all-metal device, which was known as the Articular Surface Replacement, or A.S.R. In March, a jury in Los Angeles awarded $8.3 million in the first trial of an A.S.R.-related case.

The DePuy Orthopaedics unit of Johnson & Johnson said in a statement that all its actions related to the sale, marketing and recall of the device had been appropriate.

'via Blog this'

Thursday, April 18, 2013

CNOOC vessel leaks crude in Bohai Bay

Oil spill from CNOC Vessel - State Oceanic Administration - Global  times
Chinese oceanic authorities confirmed that an oil slick spotted in the waters of Bohai Bay off Laoting county, Hebei Province, is crude oil from a vessel owned by State-owned China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) 中国海洋石油总公
The North China Sea Branch of the State Oceanic Administration said in a statement posted on its website Monday that tests found the oil in the slick is basically identical to the crude oil transported by CNOOC's Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel, Bohai Friendship.
The statement also ruled out the possibility of an oil spill related to offshore drilling in the waters, where between early June and late August in 2011 700 barrels of crude leaked into the Bohai Sea and 2,500 barrels of mineral oil and oil-based slurry sank to the sea floor in the oilfield jointly owned by the American oil giant ConocoPhillips and CNOOC.
CNOOC denied there had been an oil spill in the Bohai Bay and it was inspecting the vessel, China Business News reported.
The official statement also said oil and gas exploitation facilities in the bay are operating normally.
"Oil slicks were spotted (offshore) in the county some 10 days ago," Yang Jizhen, head of the county's aquaculture association, told the Global Times Thursday, adding that the oil stretched some 25 kilometers in the water and solid particles were also found on the beach, marking it as crude oil, not fuel, that spilled.
Shao Wenjie, a researcher with NGO Nature University, who investigated the spill, told the Global Times that the situation was shocking. 
"Oil particles were all around the beach, and large oil stains can be clearly seen in the waters. The smallest ones were as big as a fist," Shao noted.
Shao said that the quantity was more than what he saw during the previous spill in July 2011, adding that small scale oil stains in the water were not conspicuously spotted.
ConocoPhillips paid about 1 billion yuan ($160 million) to cover losses to fishers for the 2011 spill.
A local environmentalist in the county who required anonymity told the Global Times Thursday the current oil spill occurred just as this year's aquatic production has begun, adding that some fishers have complained that fish fry were growing abnormally and were dying at a high rate.
"CNOOC should release related information in a timely manner and take the initiative in cleaning up the oil stains," said the environmentalist. 
Yang said that he has seen the authorities clear away the oil slicks.
'via Blog this'

Aurora Colorado shooting cases will go forward

Federal District Judge R. Brooke Jackson has narrowed but allowed the tort actions against Cinemark Theaters to proceed for the Aurora, Colorado `Dark Knight' movie shootings.  His ORDER of April 17, 2013  allows the statutory action to proceed, while dismissing the common law negligence counts.

Judge Jackson explains "it seems to me, the danger inherent in the construction and operation of this theater was that it allowed someone inside the theater surreptitiously to prop the door leading  directly from the theater to the outside open and thereby to permit himself or others to enter the theater undetected and to commit a violent act against one or more patrons inside. The questions then become, (1) did Cinemark know or should it have known that this danger existed, and, if so,  (2) did it exercise reasonable care to protect patrons against this danger."


OTHERWISE: John Snow - Father of Epidemiology - Bicentennial

OTHERWISE: John Snow - Father of Epidemiology - Bicentennial:
Epidemiology has played a huely important role in modern product liability litigation.  The asbestos epidemic was recognized and brought to public consciousness by the heroic work of Irving Selikoff whose systematic studies were the essential factual basis for every asbestos lawsuit of the past fifty years.  The use of this tool has informed pharmaceutical product liability litigation and much more.
John Snow was the father of epidemiology.  The Lancet looks back at a prphet who gained too little admiration in his own time. - GWC

'via Blog this'

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Bohai fishers allege crude spill cover-up - Conoco denies claims -

Conoco Phillips China  康菲石油中国 has denied recent media reports such as the one below that there was a spill of crude from one of its vessels in the shallow Bohai Sea.  CPC  operates oil well drilling platforms in a joint venture with China National Offshore Oil Corp..(CNOOC) The State Oceanic Administration concurs with CPC, saying the slick was fuel oil not crude oil.  - GWC

Bohai fishers allege crude spill cover-up - CHINA -
Chinese authorities on Sunday denied that an American energy giant has again spilled oil into the waters off North China, rebutting local fishers' claim that a spill is being covered up.Fishers found large oil slicks near Shandong Province Tuesday, following strong winds the night before, Wang Zhongguo, a fisher from Changdao county, told the Global Times. He said abandoned oil-absorbing pads stained with oil were also found in nearby villages.
Wang said fishers in his village saw a ship towing oil-absorbing pads sail toward the coast of Tuoji Island to avoid heavy winds on March 20.
They identified it as a ship from Conoco Phillips, an energy firm headquartered in America that in 2011 caused two oil spills in the Bohai Sea, which contains several important oil reserves.
'via Blog this'

Saturday, April 13, 2013

OTHERWISE: Politicized Challenges, Depoliticized Responses: Political Monitoring in China's Transitions by Hualing Fu :: SSRN

OTHERWISE: Politicized Challenges, Depoliticized Responses: Political Monitoring in China's Transitions by Hualing Fu :: SSRN:
An excellent appraisal of the strengths and weaknesses of the Chinese state. - gwc

'via Blog this'

No new Bohai Bay oilfield spill -

The Bohai Bay in east China. [File photo]No new Bohai Bay oilfield spill - "Citing test results, the State Oceanic Administration (SOA) said the oil patches spotted in the nearby Changdao sea area recently belong to fuel oil, not crude oil.

Sightings of oil patches around Tuoji Island of Changdao County in east China's Shandong Province had stirred suspicion of another oil spill from the Penglai 19-3 oilfield, according to reports.

Oil spills in the oilfield in June 2011 caused severe pollution in the sea. Operation at the site was suspended in September 2011 and resumed in February this year after modification measures."

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Judge Hears N.F.L. Arguments to Dismiss Head Trauma Cases -

Judge Hears N.F.L. Arguments to Dismiss Head Trauma Cases -
In United States District Court here, the league had five lawyers who argued that the case should be dismissed because the players had agreed to a collective bargaining agreement and therefore an arbitrator, not a judge, should hear their cases.
On the other side of the aisle, packed into a steamy courtroom and an overflowing gallery, were dozens of lawyers representing more than 4,000 former players and their wives who claim that the league knew about the long-term dangers of head trauma but hid them.

'via Blog this'

Court deplores SEC neglect in Madoff case, bars investors suit -

A group of investors in Bernard Madoff's  ponzi scheme sought to recover from the United States because the Securties and Exchange Commission ignored signs that Madoff's fund was a fraudulent scheme.   In Molchatsky v. United States of America (2d Circuit April 10, 2013)The  plaintiffs alleged that
 the SEC negligently failed to uncover Madoff’s fraud despite receiving numerous complaints over a sixteen-year period. Relying on an extensive report from the SEC’s Office of the Inspector General, Plaintiffs allege in detail approximately eight separate complaints the SEC received regarding Madoff and the SEC’s inadequate and often incompetent response to each. As a result of the SEC’s repeated failure to alert other branch offices of ongoing  investigations, properly review complaints and staff  subsequent inquiries, and follow up on disputed facts  elicited in interviews, the SEC missed many opportunities to uncover Madoff’s multi-billion-dollar fraud.
Standing in their way was the discretionary function exception to the Federal Torts Claims Act which retains governmental immunity for decisions whether to prosecute or not.  - GWC

Court Expresses Antipathy for S.E.C. in Handling of Madoff Case -
by Peter Lattman
A federal appeals court ruled on Wednesday that  Bernard L. Madoff‘s investors cannot sue the Securities and Exchange Commission for not uncovering his fraud, but at the same time blasted the agency for its failings.“Despite our sympathy for plaintiffs’ predicament (and our antipathy for the S.E.C.’s conduct),” the investors claims are barred because of a law protecting government agencies from lawsuits related to their use of investigatory powers, the United States Appeals Court for the Second Circuit said.
Notwithstanding the S.E.C.’s “regrettable inaction,” the court added, the commission is shielded from a negligence suit. The ruling upheld the 2011 dismissal of the case by the trial court judge in 2011.
The S.E.C. and other government agencies are protected by an exception to a law — the Federal Tort Claims Act — that allows citizens to sue the United States. The exception, in fact, is an “exception to an exception,” because the act is an exception to sovereign immunity law that typically immunizes the United States from suit.

'via Blog this'

Monday, April 8, 2013

A classic `Brandeis brief' - American Sociological Association in the DOMA case


That is the conclusion and first point of the amicus brief of the American Sociological Association in Hollingsworth v. Perry, and U.S. v. Windsor , the attacks on California Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act.  Both were recently argued in the Supreme Court.  Justice Anthony Kennedy, feeling the peer pressure of Justice Antonin Scalia, suggested the court was constrained to act by the limited evidence that children of same-sex couples suffered no harm.  That seems to reverse the burden of proof, since the challenged laws are facially discriminatory and thus contrary to the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.
So as Bill Keller explains in today';s Times, we should be grateful for the ASA's systematic review of the literature so far on the subject.  The sociologists conclude:

when the social science evidence is exhaustively examined—which the ASA has done—the facts demonstrate that children fare just as well when raised by same-sex parents.  Unsubstantiated fears regarding same-sex child rearing do not overcome these facts and do not justify upholding DOMA and Proposition 8.
Now that  Cardinal Dolan has said that the Catholic Church needs to be friendlier to gays and lesbians, rather than act like "God's Rottweiler", one can hope that the Church's social welfare agencies will agree to allow adoptions by same-sex couples.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Shandong fishermen sue ConocoPhillips in US -

Fishermen on Tuoji Island in the southeast Bohai Bay were excluded from a crude oil spill settlement between Conoco Phillips and the Chinese government.  The fishermen who work  in a large gulf in China's north claim damage due to June 2010 oil spills from drilling platforms on the shallow seabed. Their protests persist.  Hundreds have filed suit against Conoco in Texas. Their story is really starting to get play now.  Key documents can be found on the Bohai Bay page of this blog. - GWC
Shandong fishermen sue ConocoPhillips in US -
"In June 2011, the occurrence of a serious oil spill in the 19-3 oil field of Penglai in the Bohai Sea, forced ConocoPhillips China Inc. (ConocoPhillips China) to pay 1.09 billion yuan in compensation. The money was divided equally among the fishermen of Laoting, Changli in Hebei, and Suizhong in Liaoning in April of 2012. Yet the event did not end there.
Not designated within the scope of compensation by the Ministry of Agriculture, 500 fishermen from Shandong Province turned to the U.S. and sued ConocoPhillips U.S.
One of the fishermen revealed to the Daily Economic News that the American local court had accepted the case and held its hearings on April 2. They asked at least 50,000 dollars per capita in payment. However, ConocoPhillips then opposed on the grounds of jurisdiction objection. It was expected the U.S. court would make its decision in June.
The Bohai Penglai 19-3 oilfield is back on track now, yet still faces the challenge of an environmental assessment. It's said that the State Oceanic Administration would give its definitive answer around April 12.
Compensation: At least $ 50,000 each person"We are also forced to do so. We're trying our luck," fishman Wang Zhongguo told the Daily Economic News.
Reports mentioned that after the oil spill, a lawyer called Jia Fangyi on behalf of 30 local fishermen had filed a bill to the Qingdao Maritime Court on November 18, 2011, but this event was not put on record.
On July 2, 2012, 30 Shandong fishermen submitted a bill of complaint to the Southern District Court in Texas, U.S., where the ConocoPhillips headquarters are located, naming the U.S. ConocoPhillips as the defendant. Later on, the number of the plaintiffs increased to 500, hailing from Changdao, Muli of Yantai and Laizhou.
Meanwhile, the Shandong fishermen also required ConocoPhillips would be held responsible for their actual losses, future losses and losses in pollution, resource destruction, life quality, and other aspects.
Additionally, another 208 farmers in Caofeidian of Tangshan also said that they were excluded from the 1.09-billion-yuan compensation. On March 18, they issued an open letter to the National Development and Reform Commission, requesting to halt ConocoPhillips China's oil production activities in the Bohai Sea.
Heated debate on the jurisdiction of the United States Court
The reporter from Daily Economic News learned that the American local court had started its hearings in January. It was anticipated the U.S. court would make its decision on jurisdiction objection sometime in June.
On September 24, 2012, the defendant ConocoPhillips submitted an application to the United States Court, requesting to dismiss the prosecution of Shandong fishermen. On September 28, 2012, ConocoPhillips submitted its statement of defense.
In ConocoPhillips's opinion, it has signed an agreement with the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and the State Oceanic Administration and paid 1.09 billion yuan for the losses caused by the oil spill; CNOOC and ConocoPhillips China had also respectively invested 480 million yuan and 113 million yuan to undertake responsibilities in protecting the Bohai sea.
"The Ministry of Agriculture pointed out that the pollution didn't affect fishermen in Shandong. If they can prove they have been affected, they might also apply to the Ministry of Agriculture for compensation," ConocoPhillips noted.
The attorney from ConocoPhillips said the Chinese government's findings were invalid for the plaintiff to be compensated. If the plaintiffs possessed the evidence to back up they were the owners or beneficiaries of aquaculture and their losses were caused by the oil spill, they could be compensated. Their right to claim compensation would then be protected.
"Shandong fishermen failed to participate in the agreement signing between the Chinese government and ConocoPhillips. And the agreement couldn't stop the fishermen from filing a bill to the Chinese court. ConocoPhillips's behavior was a somewhat 'pretended ignorance' of the Chinese law," said Jia. "If the first set of the compensation funds led nowhere, the other fishermen who had the evidence of contamination could not be compensated either."
"ConocoPhillips' claim that the Shandong fishermen were not affected by the pollution was entirely groundless. It was not affirmed by law and never announced to the fishermen. So it was invalid according the law in China." Jia told the Daily Economic News reporter.
Environmental assessment of the 19-3 oil field's resume production questioned
In June 2011, a serious oil spill in 19-3 oil field of Penglai occurred, with 700 barrels of crude oil flowing into the Bohai Sea and some 2,500 barrels of mineral oil-based mud stranding under the sea.
In February of this year, the State Oceanic Administration announced that ConocoPhillips had obtained its documents of approval to resume its project.
However, for the 19-3's resumption of production, the State Oceanic Administration did not take the initiative to publicize the supervision and inspection documents of approval on environmental protection.
On February 27, two lawyers called Tang Huadong and Sun Peng from Beijing Deheheng (Shanghai) Law Firm submitted the information disclosure application form to the State Oceanic Administration.
Tang noted that as to State Oceanic Administration's document of approval, on the one hand, it was not publicized, and on the other hand, no hearings had been organized. Such behavior was administratively illegal and improper.
Sun also questioned why the State Oceanic Administration had hastily approved the resumption of production.
"On March 21, State Oceanic Administration sent us a letter, which stated it would reply us within 15 working days. We're still waiting for that day. It will probably be on April 12." Tang told the Daily Economic News reporter." 'via Blog this'

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Beijing warns Shandong fishermen against suing ConocoPhillips over Bohai oil spill | South China Morning Post

Beijing warns Shandong fishermen against suing ConocoPhillips over Bohai oil spill | South China Morning Post:

Five hundred fishermen in Shandong who are suing US oil firm ConocoPhillips in Texas for compensation after an oil spill in Bohai Bay have come under pressure from Beijing to drop the lawsuit, as they "have embarrassed some officials", representatives of the group say.
Wang Zhongguo, a fisherman from Tuoji Island, Changdao county, yesterday said that he and many other fishermen had been warned, threatened and monitored by local government officials for more than six months.
County officials told the fishermen that the government was promoting Changdao as a global tourist attraction and was worried the lawsuit would hurt its efforts, as the islands were less than 40 nautical miles from the platforms where the spill occurred in 2011, Wang said.
Fishermen were told to stay at home and withdraw their names from the lawsuit. Their activities were closely monitored and their movements often restricted by government agents.

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

BP Seeks to Halt Some Gulf Oil-Spill Settlement Payments - Businessweek

BP Seeks to Halt Some Gulf Oil-Spill Settlement Payments - Businessweek: "BP Plc (BP/)’s lawsuit challenging some payments under the $8.5 billion Gulf of Mexico oil-spill settlement should be thrown out because the company is seeking to change fixed terms in the agreement, spill victims said.

BP’s suit targeting interpretations of the settlement by court-appointed administrator Patrick Juneau is flawed and should be dismissed, lawyers for oil spill victims who agreed to resolve their claims said in a filing today in federal court in New Orleans."

'via Blog this'