Parish Coastal Zone Lawsuits
Overview: In November of 2013, Jefferson and Plaquemines Parish filed 28 lawsuits against over 100 companies for alleged violations of Coastal Permits. Most recently on July 28th the District Attorney for the 15th Judicial District, Keith Stutes filed litigation against 49 oil and gas defendants on behalf of Vermilion Parish. We have worked to collect information regarding the Parish Coastal Zone lawsuits and consolidate it into one place. If you have information that you believe would be relevant and should be shared with our industry, please email it to Camille Ivy-O’Donnell at firstname.lastname@example.org
UPDATE 9/22/16: Governor Edwards has sent demand letters to all of the Coastal Parishes, giving them 30 days from September 21 to file their own Coastal Lawsuits against the oil and gas industry or the Governor, through the Department of Natural Resources will file the lawsuits for the parishes (view the Governor’s letter here). The Attorney General had previously filed motions following the State’s motion to enroll legal counsel, declaring the State’s motion invalid because the Legal Counsel was not approved bye the Attorney General as is required by law.
UPDATE 8/17/16: The State of Louisiana, through the Department of Natural Resources, files motion to enroll additional legal counsel in the Jefferson Parish Coastal Lawsuit “Atlantic Richfield et al.” You may view the filing here.. The following lawyers were added:
- Taylor Townsend of T. Taylor Townsend, LLC
- Gladstone Jones of Jones, Swanson, Huddell & Garrison, LLC
- Bernie Boudreaux of Jones, Swanson, Huddell & Garrison, LLC
- Michael Veron of Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC
- Rock Palermo of Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC
- James Swanson of Fishman Haygood, LLP
- James Garner of Sher, Garner, Cahill, Richter, Klein & Hilbert, LLC
UPDATE: District Court Dismisses Coastal Lawsuits as “Premature” – The 24th Judicial District Court Judge Stephen Enright recently ruled to dismiss a lawsuit filed by trial lawyers on behalf of Jefferson Parish against oil and gas exploration and production companies. Click HERE for more information.
July 28, 2016 the District Attorney for the 15th Judicial District, Keith Stutes, announced the filing of litigation against 49 oil and gas defendants on behalf of Vermilion Parish.
In February of 2016 Cameron Parish filed 11 lawsuits against over 110 companies. Information is below. There are now totaling 40 lawsuits with 503 named defendants.
49 named defendants
A Jefferson Parish judge’s ruling in a coastal Louisiana lawsuit against oil and gas companies may affect a similar action in Vermilion Parish, industry advocates say. Judge Stephen Enright of the 24th Judicial District Court dismissed several lawsuits filed in that Greater New Orleans parish, ruling that the plaintiffs had not exhausted administrative relief efforts from the state for their complaints. The ruling was revealed Tuesday…
A wetlands damage lawsuit filed by Jefferson Parish against nine oil and gas companies was dismissed by a 24th Judicial District Court judge because the parish did not first exhaust administrative remedies provided under state state law, according to the court decision released Tuesday (Aug. 9). But Judge Stephen Enright Jr. dismissed the suit without prejudice, meaning the parish might be able to refile the suit if it either follows state procedures to find…
LAFAYETTE – The 15th Judicial District Attorney Keith Stutes recently filed a lawsuit seeking damages from a variety of oil and gas companies, blaming them for the environmental contamination and coastal erosion created by decades of drilling and production in Vermilion Parish. Stutes’ lawsuit mimics several others that have been filed on behalf of parish governments throughout the state seeking compensation for alleged…
Fifteenth Judicial District Attorney Keith Stutes has sued 45 oil and gas companies on behalf of Vermilion Parish, contending that the companies that drilled along and near the coast there damaged land and waterways, in violation of state law.
A district attorney in the heart of Louisiana’s oil patch filed a lawsuit Thursday seeking damages from a long list of oil and gas companies for environmental contamination and coastal erosion blamed on decades of drilling and production in Vermilion Parish.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Vermilion Parish is suing dozens of oil and natural gas companies over damage the parish’s district attorney says drilling caused to the coast. District Attorney Keith Stutes filed the lawsuit Thursday in state court. Vermilion is the fourth parish to file suit against oil and gas companies over such claims.
BATON ROUGE, La. (KLFY) – Attorney General Jeff Landry issued the following statement in response to the Vermilion Parish coastal lawsuit filed today: “It is disappointing to see the lawsuit filed today in Vermilion Parish – as we have repeatedly conveyed to the coastal parishes that litigation beyond those already filed in Cameron, Jefferson, and Plaquemines were counter-intuitive.
District Attorney Keith Stutes is suing 49 oil and gas companies for damages along Vermilion Coast. The suit claims that the oil companies did not comply with the law and caused marsh erosion, saltwater intrusion, radioactive water release and flooding along the coast.
BATON ROUGE – Many believe oil and energy companies have destroyed coastal marshes and wetlands along the Gulf Coast through standard drilling activities, though scientific and geological research paints a different picture of the true cause of coastal land loss.
BATON ROUGE—Gov. John Bel Edwards’ attempt during a May meeting to push gas and oil companies to pay for coastline restoration, with no proof of permit violations, is getting pushback from those being pushed. Chris John, president of Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association (LMOGA), and Don Briggs, president of Louisiana Oil and Gas Association (LOGA), recently sent a letter to the governor refusing his attempts to negotiate a settlement. The letter questions the governor’s motives in circumventing the state’s own regulatory process that’s in place to “identify and establish any violations of Coastal Use Permits.”
Letter: Oil industry suits threaten economy
When you hear trial lawyers defending legacy lawsuits and politicians such as Foster Campbell attacking the oil and gas industry, remember that they are attacking you, your friends, your family, your local schools, your local business owners and the entire state. This is not an issue that is confined to a courtroom or the state capitol. It trickles down to every aspect of our communities and families.
The St. Bernard Parish Council took a first step on Tuesday toward joining Plaquemines and Jefferson parishes in suing oil and gas companies for industry damage to coastal wetlands. The Jindal Administration has not supported the parish suits but also has not opposed them vehemently, as it has the Flood Protection Authority’s suit.The council voted unanimously to hire three law firms, including the same firm representing the other parishes, Carmouche and Marcello of Baton Rouge, to investigate its options for suing oil and gas companies. The other firms include Cossich, Sumich, Parisola, & Taylor, of Belle Chasse, and Connick and Connick of Metairie.
Complicated back story of lawsuit dispute
So maybe there’s more than meets the eye to the Jindal administration’s over-the-top denunciation of Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority — East’s lawsuit against nearly 100 oil and gas companies over decades of catastrophic wetlands loss. Perhaps all that vitriol isn’t only about Gov. Bobby Jindal’s ideology, the industry’s political stroke, the jobs, the trial lawyers and the levee authority’s structural independence or lack thereof. Maybe it’s also about the administration’s plans to target a different culprit, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
La. lawsuits may portend shifting political tide
When a south Louisiana flood control board filed a lawsuit last summer against nearly 100 oil and gas companies over the loss of coastal wetlands, it was treated as a political pariah for attacking an important Louisiana industry.An association of its fellow levee districts voted to oppose the lawsuit. Gov. Bobby Jindal lambasted the action as a windfall for trial lawyers and announced he would seek to replace the board’s members as their terms expired.
Jefferson and Plaquemines parishes have taken the lead in filing lawsuits charging that energy companies and contractors have not followed the law in restoring coastal lands to the healthy conditions that existed before their explorations and production efforts. Louisiana laws clearly say that the land must be maintained and restored to their original condition when work is completed.
There is a good reason why Gov. Bobby Jindal responded so calmly to Jefferson and Plaquemines parishes suing dozens of oil companies for coastal damage, compared to his ballistic reaction to a similar suit filed earlier by the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East. Yes, the parishes’ suits are brought by elected local officials instead of an appointed board. And yes, the parishes don’t have eye-popping contingency-fee contracts with their attorneys as the flood authority does.
Parishes have no plans to sue oil, gas companies
Top officials from Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes say they have no plans to pursue coastal damage lawsuits like those filed earlier this week by their counterparts in Jefferson and Plaquemines against oil and gas companies. The new suits are similar to the highly criticized legal actions taken over the summer by the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East.
The same song different verse seems to be the new theme for the Louisiana legal climate. While the filing of 28 new lawsuits by the same group of trial lawyers should come as no surprise to the oil and gas industry, the lack of surprise makes the issue no less egregious. On Tuesday of this week, a new round of 28 lawsuits under the cover of Plaquemines and Jefferson Parish were filed against the oil and gas industry naming 88 different companies across both parishes. The suits allege violation of the terms of the Louisiana oil and gas industry’s leases and drilling permits, thus causing substantial damage to land and water bodies
Letter: Jindal selling out wetlands for political folly
November 15, 2013
Reading Stephanie Grace’s recent column about coastal issues brought back memories of a failed legislative effort to stop the madness in the coastal wetlands 26 years ago. Legislators back then were no different than Gov. Bobby Jindal today. When they bowed to the oil and gas lobbyists, they knew the extent of the damage that was going on. Yet they simply sold out for cheap political favors.
Jefferson and Plaquemines parishes have filed a set of nearly 30 lawsuits alleging dozens of energy companies and their contractors destroyed and polluted the parishes’ coastal areas, mirroring the philosophy, if not the exact tactics, of a suit a local levee district filed this summer seeking to bring the oil and gas industry to account.
Attorneys representing Jefferson and Plaquemines parishes have filed several lawsuits in state courts demanding that dozens of oil, gas and pipeline companies repair damage caused by dredging and other operations, and remove waste materials that were improperly disposed in wetlands, all in violation of the terms of permits allowing them to operate in each parish’s “coastal zone.”
The lawsuits brought swift condemnation from Louisiana Oil and Gas Association president Don Briggs.”These suits are more of the same,” Briggs said in a news release. “Extort as much money from the oil and gas industry as possible, thus lining the pockets of a small group of trial lawyers.” Graves was more tempered in his reaction to the latest suits. “Businesses should be operating in compliance with existing regulations,” Graves said Tuesday evening. “We have asked the Department of Natural Resources to review the lawsuits and the permits in question.
LOGA Response to Plaquemines and Jefferson Parish Lawsuits
November 12, 2013
LOGA President Don Briggs stated, “These suits are more of the same. Extort as much money from the oil and gas industry as possible, thus lining the pockets of a small group of trial lawyers. Plaquemines and Jefferson Parish are simply following the precedence set by the South Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East (SLFPAE). While the representing plaintiff attorneys have been quoted as saying that this is not about ‘monetary damages, but rather remedies’, I am not certain that anyone actually believes that.
Breaking: Parishes Sue Oil Companies
Suits were filed today by the Jefferson and Plaquemines parish councils against oil companies, alleging they violated the terms of their leases and drilling permits, thus causing land loss and saltwater intrusion. Twenty-seven suits have been filed in state courts against multiple defendant companies, 20 in Plaquemines and seven in Jefferson, according to Vic Marcello of Talbot, Carmouche and Marcello, the lead law firm in the legal action.
Even as Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration launched an all-out assault this year against a state agency’s lawsuit accusing energy companies of destroying coastal wetlands, officials in the Republican strongholds of Jefferson and Plaquemines parishes were quietly preparing their own cases aimed at forcing the oil and gas industry to repair the damage it allegedly has done in those areas. In coming weeks, both parishes’ councils could file their own suits centered around allegations that the industries have taken an enormous toll that can be measured in terms of land that has simply washed away, multiple sources familiar with the cases told The New Orleans Advocate.