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New Orleans 182 articles

Appellate court’s ruling threatens businesses harmed by BP’s Gulf oil spill

A federal appeals court ruling that effectively lets BP slip out of financial and legal obligations spelled out in a 2012 settlement agreement has stunned and baffled Gulf Coast claimants hurt by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Two judges on a three-judge panel at the U.S. 5th District Court of Appeals intervened in the oil spill claims settlement the first week of December, ordering federal judge Carl Barbier to block any and all claims payments to businesses whose “injuries are not traceable to the spill.” The ruling has brought nearly all claims payments to a dead stop by bogging them ... Read More

Corporate jet crash in suburban Atlanta kills two

Federal transportation agencies are investigating what caused a private business jet crash on a northwest Atlanta, Ga., road Tuesday evening, killing both people on board. According to the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office, one of the people killed was 67-year-old Peter Mallen, the CEO of Mallen Industries, a specialty textile manufacturer based in Norcross, Ga. The other fatality was 23-year-old Emory University graduate Brittany McAuley, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported. The airplane, an eight-seat, twin-engine Raytheon 390 Premier I aircraft, was registered to Mallen Industries. The plane had taken off at 7:20 p.m. from Atlanta’s Fulton County Airport and was ... Read More

Jury convicts BP engineer for obstructing investigation of Gulf oil spill

A jury in a federal New Orleans court convicted former BP drilling engineer Kurt Mix on one count of obstruction for deleting text messages and voicemails from his cell phone that he was supposed to preserve as evidence in the ongoing BP trial and investigations of its massive 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The deadlocked jury appeared to be headed for a possible mistrial Tuesday before finally reaching a verdict in the case on Wednesday. The obstruction of justice charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. The jury acquitted Mr. Mix of ... Read More

BP trial judge issues scathing criticism of BP legal team

The federal judge overseeing Deepwater Horizon oil spill litigation in New Orleans said he was “deeply disappointed” in the behavior of BP’s legal team, condemning it for attempting to undermine his authority and undo the complex settlement agreement with plaintiffs that it helped design. Judge Carl Barbier issued the unusually striking order Nov. 22 in response to an “emergency motion” the oil giant filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. In that motion, BP accuses the judge of refusing to suspend hundreds of millions of dollars in settlement payments it believes are being sent to claimants ... Read More

New IUD insertion device aims to cut down on uterine perforation

New Orleans-based company Bioceptive has created a device that it says makes the insertion of intrauterine devices – or IUDs – simpler, thus cutting down on the technical training required for health providers. The inserter automates some of the insertion process and allows the health care provider to guide the IUD into the intended place and reduce the chance of uterine perforation. IUDs tear through the uterine wall about once or twice for every 1,000 insertions, and the risk is even greater when the device is inserted by an inexperienced health care provider. Women who have had fewer children also ... Read More

Pontchartrain bridge officials mull safety improvements after another truck crashes into lake

NEW ORLEANS, La. — Lake Pontchartrain Causeway officials told New Orleans’ WVUE that the bridge’s southbound lanes need to undergo safety improvements to prevent more trucks and other vehicles from plunging into the lake, a tragically common problem on the 60-year old span. Three vehicles have careened off the side of the Pontchartrain Causeway this year alone, and all of those accidents occurred on the southbound side. The most recent accident occurred on Monday afternoon when a truck driven by a 19-year-old man jumped the low guardrails and crashed into the lake. Authorities are still searching for the man’s body. ... Read More

Second part of BP’s oil spill trial starts Monday

The second of three phases in a long trial to determine BP’s role and culpability for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill begins today in New Orleans. The London-based oil giant remains on the hook for potentially up to $18 billion dollars in per-barrel fines for violating the U.S. Clean Water Act with its massive 2010 oil spill, the worst in U.S. history. The second phase of BP’s oil-spill trial will help determine how many billions of dollars the corporation will pay in addition to the $42.4 billion it has already spent or reserved for cleanup of the spill, compensation for ... Read More

New report maps wide destruction of BP oil spill across Gulf sea floor

BP’s giant 2010 oil spill decimated several square miles of life on the Gulf of Mexico’s floor in the area surrounding the company’s blown-out Macondo well, a new academic study has found. According to researcher Paul Montagna, professor of ecosystems and modeling at Texas A&M, the oil spill decimated about nine square miles of life on the sea floor surrounding the Macondo wellhead, the epicenter of BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster. In all, about 57 square miles of sea-floor ecosystems suffered varying degrees of damage from the resulting oil spill, said the report, published Tuesday in the scientific journal PLOS One. ... Read More

BP still trying to stall oil-spill claims payments, administrator Juneau says

Lawyers for Patrick Juneau, the oil-spill claims administrator appointed by BP and the court, lashed out at the oil giant Tuesday, accusing BP of attempting to undermine the claims process by cutting his budget and halting the payment of valid claims to individuals and business harmed by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. BP has repeatedly pushed the court to invalidate terms of the settlement agreement it reached with plaintiffs’ lawyers in March 2012, asserting that the Mr. Juneau’s office has been paying fictitious and exaggerated claims. U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier, who is overseeing the BP’s oil spill litigation ... Read More

Halliburton asks judge to accept plea deal for allegedly destroying Deepwater Horizon well tests

Halliburton Energy Services, the company BP contracted to perform cementing work on its Macondo well, has asked a federal judge in New Orleans to accept its guilty plea for destroying evidence that could have helped investigators understand the company’s role in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, which killed 11 workers and set off the largest oil spill in U.S. history. The U.S. Justice Department had accused Halliburton of deliberately destroying computer simulation files it generated in May and June of 2010 depicting the strength of its cementing work on the Macondo well shaft using six reinforcing stabilizers instead of 21. The comparative tests were run twice, and ... Read More