A federal judge in Mobile, Ala., denied a request by BP PLC to stay two lawsuits filed by Beasley Allen on behalf of companies that are being adversely affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Judge Kristi K. DuBose of U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama denied BP’s motion to stay a lawsuit brought by Bon Secour Fisheries, Inc. of Bon Secour, Alabama, a seafood processor and distributor. DuBose ruled that a stay would be premature and that BP should answer the complaint now because it will have to eventually answer at some point.
Judge DuBose also denied BP’s request to stay another lawsuit, also filed in the same Alabama court by Deupree Outdoor Services, Inc. Deupree is a commercial charter fishing guide business that depends on recreational and sport fisherman for revenues.
BP has been seeking to have federal lawsuits stayed in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida until a judicial panel decides whether to combine more than 130 federal lawsuits filed thus far into a multidistrict proceeding.
In the same federal court in Mobile, Judge William Steele ruled that “entering a stay at this juncture and under these circumstances would not rescue defendants from material hardship or the risk of inconsistent adjudications, after all, they must answer the complaint anyway.”