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BP Oil Spill Trial: MDL 2179 Motion to Vacate B1 Order Memo of Law

BP Oil Spill Trial: MDL 2179 Motion to Vacate B1 Order Memo of Law

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Published by TheDonovanLawGroup
The Supreme Court has held that a district court conducting pretrial proceedings pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1407(a) has no authority to invoke 28 U.S.C. §1404(a) to assign a transferred case to itself for trial. Lexecon Inc. v. Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach, 523 U.S. 26 (1998).

On April 8, 2012, Selmer M. Salvesen, a clam farmer in Florida, filed a Motion to Vacate Order and Reasons [As to Motions to Dismiss the B1 Master Complaint] (Rec. Doc. 3830 dated August 26, 2011) with the MDL 2179 court. Mr. Salvesen’s Motion to Vacate poses an interesting dilemma for the BP Oil Spill trial court: (a) Does the court grant the motion to vacate the B1 order thereby derailing the MDL 2179 runaway train? or (b) Does the court ignore the Supreme Court decision in Lexecon in the name of judicial discretion, judicial efficiency, judicial economy and political expediency?
The Supreme Court has held that a district court conducting pretrial proceedings pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1407(a) has no authority to invoke 28 U.S.C. §1404(a) to assign a transferred case to itself for trial. Lexecon Inc. v. Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach, 523 U.S. 26 (1998).

On April 8, 2012, Selmer M. Salvesen, a clam farmer in Florida, filed a Motion to Vacate Order and Reasons [As to Motions to Dismiss the B1 Master Complaint] (Rec. Doc. 3830 dated August 26, 2011) with the MDL 2179 court. Mr. Salvesen’s Motion to Vacate poses an interesting dilemma for the BP Oil Spill trial court: (a) Does the court grant the motion to vacate the B1 order thereby derailing the MDL 2179 runaway train? or (b) Does the court ignore the Supreme Court decision in Lexecon in the name of judicial discretion, judicial efficiency, judicial economy and political expediency?

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Published by: TheDonovanLawGroup on Apr 17, 2012
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11/11/2012

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTEASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANAIn Re: Oil Spill by the Oil Rig MDL No. 2179"Deepwater Horizon"in the Gulf of Mexico,on April 20, 2010 SECTION: JThis Document Relates to:All Cases JUDGE BARBIER MAG. JUDGE SHUSHAN _____________________________________________/PLAINTIFF'S MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF HIS MOTION TO VACATEORDER AND REASONS[As to Motions to Dismiss the B1 Master Complaint]
Selmer M. Salvesen ("Plaintiff") respectfully requests that this Honorable Court vacateits Order and Reasons [As to Motions to Dismiss the B1 Master Complaint]
,
Rec. Doc. 3830dated August 26, 2011, for the following reasons.
INTRODUCTION
In order to efficiently manage MDL 2179, this Honorable Court consolidated and

for the purpose of the filing of complaints, answers and any Rule 12 motions. (Case Management Order No. 1,Rec. Doc. 569).

-governmental"

 

 pleading bundle. On December 15, 2010, in accordance with CaseManagement Order No.1, the

PSC

filed a B1 Master Complaint. On January 12, 2011, the MDL 2179 Court issued PTO No. 25, in order to clarify
 

 

Master Complaint. The Court held that any individual plaintiff 

 
 
 and/or prayers for relief contained within the pre-existing petition or complaint are deemed to beamended, restated, and superseded by the allegations, claims, theories of recovery, and/or 
 
 On February 9, 2011, the PSC filed a First Amended Master Complaint (Rec. Doc. 1128).In the B1 First Amended Master Complaint, the PSC identifies a number of categories of claimants seeking various types of economic damages, including Commercial FishermenPlaintiffs, Processing and Distributing Plaintiffs, Recreational Business Plaintiffs, CommercialBusiness Plaintiffs, Recreation Plaintiffs, Plant and Dock Worker Plaintiffs, Vessel of 

 Banking/Retail Business Plaintiffs, Subsistence Plaintiffs, Moratorium Plaintiffs, and Dealer Claimants.Rather than allege claims under 

OPA

(which governsthe MDL 2179 cases alleging economic loss due to the BP oil spill) and the Outer Continental

OCSLA

(which governs the MDL 2179 personal injury and wrongful deathactions and borrows the law of the adjacent state as surrogate federal law), the PSC made theunfathomable decision to allege claims under a hodgepodge of statutes.In the B1 First Amended Master Complaint, the PSC states, "The claims presented hereinare admiralty or maritime claims within the meaning of Rule 9(h) of the Federal Rules of Civil-2-
 
Procedure. Plaintiffs hereby designate this case as an admiralty or maritime case, and request anon-jury trial, pursuant to Rule 9(h).
 Under general maritime law, the PSC alleges claims for negligence, gross negligence andwillful misconduct, and strict liability for manufacturing and/or design defect. Under variousstate laws, the PSC alleges claims for nuisance, trespass, and fraudulent concealment. Under theFlorida Pollutant Discharge Prevention and Control Act, Fla. Stat. § 376.011, et seq., PSCalleges a claim for strict liability. The PSC also seeks: (a) punitive damages under all claims; and(b) a declaration by the Court that the conduct of BP and its agents and representatives, including

 against other parties, persons, or entities is not an obligation of BP under OPA.The PSC points out that the B1 Master Complaint

 Case Management Order No. 1 as: (1) an administrative device to serve the functions of efficiency and economy; and (2) to present certain common claims and common questions of fact and law for appropriate action by this Court, including class certification and trial, in thecontext of this multidistrict proceeding.
 The B1 First Amended Master Complaint

 
WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs and the Class and/or Subclass Members demand judgmentagainst Defendants, jointly, severally, and solidarily, as follows:(f) An order certifying the Class and/or Subclasses as set forth herein under theappropriate provisions of F.R.C.P. 23, appointing Plaintiffs as Class and/or SubclassRepresentatives, and appointing undersigned counsel as counsel for the Class and/or Subclasses for the purpose of determining the quantum or ratio of punitive damages to beassessed against each of the Defendants, to be paid ratably to Class and/or Subclassmembers who recover, through claims processes or litigation, actual damages and/or otherwise equitably utilized in accord with the societ

 -3-

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