Panel Refuses To Merge Lawsuits Against Oil, Gas Firms


NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A national panel of judges has refused to merge more than 40 wetland damage lawsuits filed by six Louisiana parishes against oil and gas companies. Times-Picayune reports the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on Tuesday refused an attempt by oil and gas companies to consolidate the lawsuits.

The panel said there are enough differences between the cases that combining them isn't necessary. The 42 lawsuits charge that the exploration, production and transportation by oil and gas companies have led to coastal land loss and damage. An attorney representing the parishes, John Carmouche, says the decision is a victory.

The lawsuits, originally filed in state courts, now head to federal judges for hearings on whether they properly moved between the two court systems.

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