Lundy v. BP Expl & Prod
Opinion Date: October 20, 2023
Judge: Leslie H. Southwick
Areas of Law: Civil Procedure, Class Action, Personal Injury
Before Plaintiffs’ cases were distributed to the district court, these cases were part of MDL 2179, the multi-district litigation proceeding before United States District Court Judge Carl J. Barbier in the Eastern District of Louisiana. Judge Barbier established what is known as the “B3 Bundle” within the overall litigation. The B3 Bundle included claims for personal injury and wrongful death due to exposure to oil and/or other chemicals used during the response to the disaster. 85 B3 cases were assigned to District Judge Barry Ashe. Before his confirmation, Judge Ashe he was a longtime partner at the Stone Pigman law firm. A little more than two weeks after Judge Ashe began granting summary judgments following the exclusion of Dr. Cook, Street’s counsel moved to disqualify Judge Ashe in the five cases in which he had excluded Dr. Cook and in other cases where Daubert and summary judgment motions were still pending. Plaintiffs argued that Judge Ashe should have disqualified himself and, in the alternative, that he should have extended the case-management deadlines.
The Fifth Circuit affirmed. If Judge Ashe erred when he failed to recuse in these cases, that error was harmless. Nonetheless, as the arguments on this appeal support, potential conflicts of interest must be taken seriously by every member of the judiciary. The litigants and the public need to be confident in the impartiality of those who will decide legal disputes.
Louisiana Law Blog
Louisiana Law, News, Issues and Comments from Attorneys at the Shoultz Law Firm