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New Orleans 182 articles

Whistleblower’s Retaliation Complaint May Go To U.S. Supreme Court

Whistleblowers who report violations of securities laws internally but not to federal authorities are protected from retaliation, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled Sept. 10, a decision that likely puts the case on a track to the U.S. Supreme Court. The appellate court’s 2-1 decision potentially opens the door for more corporate whistleblowers who have been harassed, demoted, passed up for promotion, terminated, or in other ways punished for calling out wrongdoing to sue their employers over alleged retaliation. The ruling revives a lawsuit filed by Daniel Berman, a former finance director at Neo@Ogilvy, the digital ... Read More

Oil company settles lawsuit over decade-long Gulf oil spill

Taylor Energy Company has agreed to settle a lawsuit environmental groups filed against it in 2012, alleging the company’s offshore oil wells have been polluting the Gulf of Mexico with a decade-long oil spill that continues to this day. The lawsuit was scheduled to go to trial October 5 in a New Orleans federal court, but papers filed Thursday said that Taylor Energy agreed to settle out of court. Taylor Energy said in a company announcement said that the settlement requires it to pay $300,000 to the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium for the purchase of boats, electronics, and other equipment ... Read More

Black Elk Energy Charged With Felonies For Deadly 2012 Gulf Rig Explosion

NEW ORLEANS—Federal prosecutors have charged offshore driller Black Elk Energy with federal felony charges in connection with a 2012 Gulf of Mexico oil rig explosion that killed three workers and seriously injured three others. The charges stem from a 2013 report by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) that pinned the explosion on a multitude of bad decisions and safety failures by Black Elk and the contractors it retained for construction work on the offshore platform, situated about 20 miles south of Grand Isle, La. According to the report, “These failures reflect a disregard for the safety of ... Read More

Chinese Drywall Class Action plaintiffs await ruling on damages

Nearly 3,000 homeowners who claim their homes and personal property have been ruined by cheaply made Chinese drywall await a federal judge’s decision after a trial to determine damages in a class-action lawsuit concluded Tuesday. U.S. District Judge Edon Fallon, who certified the class, heard testimony from expert witnesses in New Orleans and will decide damages without the participation of a jury. The judge plans to make a decision toward the end of the month, after meeting with attorneys from both sides. The class action includes homeowners from Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and Virginia who contend the defective drywall ... Read More

BP oil spill settlement the largest of its kind in U.S. history

BP reached a record $18.73-billion agreement with the U.S. government and five Gulf states Thursday to resolve most legal claims stemming from its 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, considered the biggest environmental catastrophe in the U.S. The settlement is the largest environmental settlement in U.S. history. If approved by the court, the settlement will require BP to pay the federal government $5.5 billion in civil penalties for violating the Clean Water Act. NP subsidiary BPXP will make those payments over a 15-year period. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) said that 80 percent of the Clean ... Read More

243 Professionals Charged in Record Medicare Fraud Crackdown

A nationwide sweep by the federal government’s Medicare Fraud Strike Force resulted in criminal charges against 243 individuals, including 46 doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals for their suspected participation in a multitude of Medicare and Medicaid fraud schemes that cost U.S. taxpayers $712 million, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Thursday. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said the sweep, which encompassed 17 metropolitan areas throughout the U.S., was the “largest criminal health care fraud takedown in the history of the Department of Justice,” both in the number of individuals charged and the amount of federal ... Read More

Fatal Amtrak train derailment in Philly leads to the deaths of at least six passengers

An Amtrak train derailment occurred in Philadelphia’s Port Richmond section Tuesday evening. The train was on the way to New York City, and the crash resulted in the deaths of at least six passengers. More than 140 other passengers were hospitalized with other injuries, including eight passengers currently listed in critical condition, local medical officials said. The train, Amtrak Northeast Regional Train 188, had all seven of its cars derail off the tracks near Frankford Junction on the 2000 block of Wheatsheaf Lane around 9 p.m. Many passengers have detailed the drama taking place as they heard the screeching sound of the derailment outside ... Read More

BP claims U.S. oil spill fines can bankrupt subsidiary

BP faces paying several billions of dollars in oil spill fines for violating the U.S. Clean Water Act with its massive Deepwater Horizon oil spill, but the oil giant claims that any fines amounting to more than $2.3 billion would bankrupt its exploration and production operations. In court papers filed March 27, BP argues that subsidiary BP Exploration & Production Inc. (BPXP) should not be forced to pay more than it claims it can afford for its negligence in the massive 2010 oil spill, which released an estimated 4.2 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Under the ... Read More

Alabama will have jury trial in BP oil spill case

A federal judge dealt BP another blow Monday by rejecting the oil giant’s bid to have the State of Alabama’s request for a jury trial thrown out. Alabama is seeking compensation for damages caused by BP’s April 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which heavily damaged the state’s coastal environment and led to hefty economic losses. Judge Carl Barbier, who has been overseeing the complex BP oil spill litigation in New Orleans, granted Alabama a jury trial that is expected to start in 12 or 13 months’ time. Alabama was the first state to sue BP for damages resulting from the ... Read More

Victims of toxic Chinese drywall may soon see relief

The sudden turnaround of a Chinese drywall manufacturer that has repeatedly snubbed U.S. courts is a promising sign for thousands of U.S. homeowners whose homes, and even their lives, have been ruined by toxic, highly corrosive drywall, plaintiffs’ lawyers say. Taishan Gypsum Co. Ltd., a drywall company owned by the Chinese government, last week paid $3.2 million in damages to a federal court in New Orleans. That money will be disbursed to seven Virginia homeowners whose complaints against Taishan were tried as bellwether cases representative of a much larger, complex body of litigation still pending. The payments stunned those involved ... Read More