Lawyers, Gulf Coast Attorneys General Weigh Legal Options in Oil Spill

May 3, 2010

The top law enforcement executives for five U.S. states have begun meeting to talk about legal options for dealing with the effects of a massive oil spill threatening their Gulf of Mexico shores.

The attorneys general from Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas met Sunday in Mobile, Alabama.

A statement said those at the meeting would discuss legal options, strategies, and preparations for the spill that erupted after a drill rig exploded April 20.

Asked if the states may file lawsuits against oil company BP PLC and other firms, a spokeswoman for Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum said he is looking at all possibilities.

Lawyers for private plaintiffs including fishermen have filed at least 26 potential class action lawsuits so far for damages from the spill.

Attorneys say there could be hundreds of thousands of plaintiffs from Texas to Florida seeking damages. Plaintiffs so far include commercial fishermen, charter boat captains, resort management companies and individual property owners.

Plaintiffs in class-action cases seek to represent an entire group of people in similar situations who claim economic losses due to company negligence.

The lawsuits target BP PLC, Transocean and other companies involved in the offshore rig that exploded in the Gulf and began leaking oil.

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