This weekend saw the first sliver of good news with regards to the Gulf oil spill, as BP announced at least a portion of the discharged oil is now being contained. With regards to the legal ramifications of the disaster, the Associated Press is reporting that finding enough judges in the region eligible to hear the cases could prove difficult.
The AP found through an analysis of financial disclosure reports that 37 of 64 active or senior judges that sit in the Gulf Coast districts where most of the cases are pending have financial ties to the oil and gas industry.
These potential conflicts of interest would seemingly go against federal judicial rules that mandate judges remove themselves from cases that involve a company in which they have a direct financial interest. According to the story, some Louisiana judges have already taken that step.
There are currently more than 150 lawsuits pending in response to the oil spill, most of which are seeking damages for economic losses. Attorneys for BP and the other companies involved in the spill are asking the cases be consolidated in one court, possibly Texas or Louisiana, the AP reports. A federal judicial panel is slated to decide on the topic next month.