Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2011-10-12


Continuing legal and administrative issues related to the April, 2010, Gulf Coast oil spill will be the topic of a program presented by Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law Tuesday, Oct. 18. The public is invited to the 4:30 p .m. discussion in the moot courtroom of Robinson law building.

A panel of legal experts will discuss the response of the justice system and identify the process in place for compensating victims of the massive spill caused by the explosion of the BP Deepwater Horizon drilling rig.

Panelists will be Alabama attorney general Luther Strange and environmental law specialists Rhon Jones and  Greg Hawley. Strange is the lead attorney general for all states filing claims against BP.

Cumberland dean John L. Carroll will moderate the panel. A former U.S. District Judge, Carroll serves as an appointed appeals judge in the oil spill administrative claims process.

Strange and Jones will discuss the progress of the numerous lawsuits pending in U.S. District Court in New Orleans, La. Jones is a member of Montgomery’s Beasley Allen law firm, where he manages its toxic torts/environmental section. He is one of 15 attorneys chosen for the plaintiffs’ steering committee in the multi-district litigation related to the oil spill.

Hawley will address the claims process that is under the supervision of claims administrator Kenneth Feinberg. A member of Birmingham’s White Arnold & Dowd law firm, Hawley has represented defendants in many environmental tort, products liability and mass tort class actions.

The disaster, widely recognized as the nation’s worst offshore oil spill, has generated more legal claims than any environmental disaster in history. The explosion killed 11 workers and injured 17 others,   creating an environmental and economic disaster affecting the entire Gulf Coast region.

Tuesday’s program is sponsored by Cumberland’s Cordell Hull Speakers Forum and Environmental Law Society. Sims Rhyne, a third-year law student from Jacksonville, Fla.,  is chair of  the 2011-12 Cordell Hull Speakers Forum. Ruth McVay, a third-year law student from Birmingham, is president of the Environmental Law Society.