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College of Law alumnus will oversee oil spill cases

September 3, 2010

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier, J.D. ’70 will oversee civil lawsuits brought by fishermen, rig workers and others, stemming from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Barbier is a 12-year veteran of the federal bench. He will supervise personal injury and other cases filed against British Petroleum PLC and other corporate defendants, including Transocean Ltd., Halliburton Co. and Cameron International Corp. This decision was strongly welcomed by plaintiffs’ attorneys who want the cases heard in a place affected by the disaster.

Barbier has strong ties to the Gulf Coast region. He was born in New Orleans in 1944 and attended Southeastern Louisiana University and Loyola University New Orleans College of Law. He was in private practice for several years in New Orleans before former President Bill Clinton called him for the federal bench in 1998.

A hearing was held in late July in Boise, Idaho, by a seven-judge panel, known as the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, to decide how to tie together hundreds of spill-related lawsuits. The litigation consists of 77 actions and more than 200 potential tag-along cases.

Thomas Sims of the law firm Baron and Budd, which argued for Barbier to oversee the consolidated cases, said, “Barbier will be a great judge. He knows how to work with plaintiffs and defendants to get the case moving forward with minimal court involvement.”

In addition, Barbier has also handled many cases related to Hurricane Katrina, including the first federal trial in Louisiana in 2007 brought by policyholders against State Farm Insurance over damage from the devastating 2005 hurricane.

For more information, please contact the Office of Alumni Relations at 800-798-ALUM, 504- 861-5454, or alumni@loyno.edu.

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