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New Orleans 182 articles

State Farm appeals verdict in whistleblower lawsuit involving Hurricane Katrina damages

NEW ORLEANS, La. – The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments Feb. 5 as Illinois-based State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. appeals a verdict that it pay $3 million in damages and legal fees stemming from a whistleblower lawsuit. A Mississippi jury sided with sisters Cori and Kerri Rigsby of Ocean Springs, Miss., in 2013, who filed a lawsuit under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, which authorizes private citizens to sue on behalf of the federal government. The sisters accused State Farm of manipulating damage reports after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in ... Read More

Alabama getting $93.8 million for BP oil spill recovery and restoration projects

Alabama is set to receive $93.8 million in oil spill money for coastal restoration projects in the third and largest installment to come from the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund, which was established to help the U.S. Gulf coast recover from BP’s 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees made the announcement on Friday that Alabama and the four other Gulf Coast states would soon be receiving their share of $1 billion in funds BP provided as a down payment in April 2011. Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas will share $627 million in ... Read More

Cleanup workers sickened by BP oil spill face legal limbo with medical claims

Cleanup workers and coastal residents who were exposed to crude oil and chemical dispersants from BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill may be forced into the same kind of protracted litigation that prevented Exxon Valdez cleanup workers from getting medical assistance and relief from doctor’s bills. Some 20,000 Gulf coast residents and cleanup workers, many of them suffering from chronic health problems that manifested several months after their exposure to the oil and other contaminants, are part of a medical damages settlement class, but find themselves in a legal limbo thanks to, as WWL-TV reported, “a disputed reading of one phase ... Read More

Judge strikes down BP’s efforts to recoup money paid on oil spill claims

A federal judge in New Orleans overseeing the BP oil spill litigation said that the company will not be permitted to take back hundreds of millions of dollars it paid out to victims harmed by the massive 2010 Gulf oil spill. BP had sought to recoup payments it considered excessive from some oil spill claimants. Those payments were calculated under the accounting methods established by the 2012 settlement agreement, before Judge Carl Barbier ordered the claims administrator’s office last year to implement new accounting procedures BP considered fairer. However, Judge Barbier found in a hearing last week that the payments ... Read More

Feds widen crackdown on $56-million Medicare fraud scheme in New Orleans

Federal prosecutors have widened their crackdown on a $56-million health care fraud scheme in the New Orleans area, announcing charges against seven more individuals, including two physicians, who allegedly billed Medicare for home health care services that were not medically necessary or were never provided. The U.S. Justice Department announced Thursday that a New Orleans grand jury indicted the seven individuals, bringing the total number involved in the alleged fraud scheme to 13 defendants. The indicted individuals operated six health care companies. Federal prosecutors say the individuals participated in the scheme through these companies, billing Medicare for home health services ... Read More

Halliburton agrees to $1.1-billion resolution of Deepwater Horizon oil spill claims

Beasley Allen lawyers and other members of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee (PSC) leading the BP oil spill litigation announced they have reached a $1.1-billion settlement with Halliburton Energy Services over its role in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. The settlement, subject to approval by a New Orleans federal court, is to be paid into a trust in three installments over the next two years until all appeals have been resolved. Halliburton, an oil-field services provider that cemented the doomed well a mile beneath the Deepwater Horizon rig, agreed to plead guilty to a criminal charge last year for destroying evidence ... Read More

Fuel tanker cut off by car overturns and explodes on I-10 in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS, La. — The driver of a loaded commercial tanker truck that overturned and burst into flames on Interstate 10 in New Orleans Tuesday said she lost control of the vehicle after a passenger car cut her off. The 24-year-old tank truck driver told investigators that she was merging onto I-10 east from I-510 around 4:30 p.m. when a car abruptly moved into her lane, causing her to swerve to avoid colliding with the vehicle. The near-collision caused the 18-wheeler, which was hauling about 8,600 gallons of fuel, to overturn and burst into flames. A New Orleans Fire Department ... Read More

Federal court holds Chinese drywall companies in contempt for ignoring U.S. litigation

China’s state-owned drywall manufacturers have abandoned litigation in the U.S. involving thousands of American homeowners who sued the companies over allegedly toxic and corrosive drywall they claim has damaged their homes and their health. In addition to not responding to the multidistrict litigation (MDL) in a Louisiana federal court, Taishan Gypsum Co. Ltd. and other gypsum manufacturers owned by the Chinese government’s Assets Supervision and Administration Commission ignored a $2.7 million default judgment against them in 2010. U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon held Taishan in civil and criminal contempt on July 17 for its refusal to appear in court to ... Read More

BP asks U.S. Supreme Court to hear its oil spill settlement case

As if causing the worst environmental disaster in the nation’s history weren’t enough of a blow to the U.S., BP appears determined to waste millions of taxpayer dollars by fighting every court decision until it gets the outcome it demands. On Friday, BP filed a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court, claiming the New Orleans federal court and the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals wrongly approved the multi-billion dollar settlement that the oil giant itself helped draft and then approved in March 2012. BP has been trying to suspend payments on claims to businesses harmed by the 2010 Deepwater ... Read More

BP, Anadarko ask appeals court to reconsider Clean Water Act liability issues

BP and its Deepwater Horizon partner Anadarko Petroleum Corp. asked the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals last week for another chance to demonstrate they should not be penalized for Clean Water Act violations as a result of the 2010 Gulf oil spill. According to Law360, the oil companies filed separate petitions for another hearing, claiming as they did the first time the issue was argued in court that the blowout preventer controlled by Transocean should have stopped the oil from escaping, as it was designed to do. However, last month the Fifth Court upheld a lower court ruling rejecting ... Read More