Panel Asked to Consolidate Oil Lawsuits

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

A federal judicial panel in Washington has been asked to consolidate at least 65 potential class action lawsuits claiming economic damage from the Gulf oil spill.

Shrimpers, commercial fishermen, business and resort owners, charter boat captains and even would-be vacationers have filed lawsuits from Texas to Florida since the April 20 oil rig disaster.

They seek damages possibly in the billions of dollars from BP PLC oil company, rig owner Transocean Ltd. and other companies. The companies won't comment.

Attorneys filed a petition late Wednesday with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to consolidate the cases before a single judge.

Once selected, that judge would make key decisions such as whether the lawsuits should be dismissed or proceed to trial.

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