Baron and Budd is honored to have served on the one of the highest leadership committees in the national litigation surrounding all oil spill claims against BP. As part of this position, the firm had a major role in determining how hundreds of thousands of injured individuals and businesses would be compensated by the companies responsible for this oil spill.
When there are a large number of lawsuits pending around the same issue, usually against the same company or group of companies, the cases are typically consolidated into one court under one judge (or group of judges) to more efficiently deal with the litigation. This is known as Multidistrict Litigation or MDL and is the system of case organization used for the Gulf oil spill cases. This system makes it quicker for people and businesses submitting claims to receive compensation.
After forming a MDL, it becomes necessary to cut down the number of attorneys involved – not only to streamline the litigation process, but to free up the time of other attorneys. So after the MDL is formed, a small team of attorneys is selected to oversee the entire litigation process. On the injured parties or plaintiffs’ side, this team is called the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee (PSC). It is this team’s responsibility to guide the entire plaintiffs’ side of the litigation.
The role of a PSC member is incredibly intense and time-consuming.
The 15 attorneys appointed to the Gulf oil spill committee had very specific tasks and were responsible for coordinating the litigation and working together to represent all plaintiffs.
Shareholder Scott Summy of Baron & Budd served on the PSC for the Gulf oil spill.
In the case of the oil spill litigation, Judge Barbier in the Eastern District of Louisiana asked for PSC applicants to state their willingness and availability to commit to the time-intensive project, along with their experience and teamwork abilities. Only attorneys who filed a civil action in the Gulf oil spill litigation were eligible for appointment to the PSC or PEC.
In the oil spill litigation, 112 attorneys applied and just 15 were selected for the PSC. Only four were selected to the PEC. One of those four was Baron and Budd shareholder Scott Summy.
The Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee was a smaller group that coordinated the activities of the PSC. In the Gulf oil spill litigation, the PEC consisted of four attorneys who were responsible for keeping all PSC activities on track.
Scott Summy, shareholder and head of the firm’s water contamination team, was one of only four attorneys selected to serve on the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee in the Gulf oil spill MDL. As Co-Lead Counsel on the Executive Committee, Summy helped coordinate the activities of the 15-member PSC, of which Summy is also a member.
Summy has a lengthy track record battling BP and a history of leading significant water contamination lawsuits. He served as Co-Lead Counsel and Treasurer of the PSC in the MTBE Multidistrict Litigation, where he worked on behalf of more than 150 public water systems in 17 states whose groundwater was contaminated by MTBE. Summy negotiated over $450 million in settlements to compensate the water providers for the contamination and pay cleanup costs.