Monday, February 27, 2012

Possible Settlement in BP Litigation

Bloomberg Business Week is reporting that British Petroleum and lawyers for businesses and individuals suing over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill are near a $14 billion accord to be funded with money set aside for out-of-court settlements.  BP would close its $20 billion Gulf Coast Claims Facility and shift the remaining $14 billion to plaintiffs hurt by the disaster, the largest offshore spill in U.S. history, according to people involved in the ongoing negotiations. Such a deal wouldn’t include fines by the federal government that could reach $17.6 billion, lawsuits by state governments or claims between BP and partner companies involved in the disaster.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Tornadoes Anticipated Again This Year

The linked article from AccuWeather anticipates above normal tornadoes again this year, especially for the Southeastern United States, which was devastated by these storms last year.  How do individuals, companies, and municipalities prepare for another year of disasters caused by tornadoes and other natural disasters?  What lessons were learned from previous storms and how can we be better prepared for this season?

These questions and more will be the subject of the American Bar Association's Tort, Trial & Insurance Practice Section's Spring Meeting in Charleston, SC on May 17, 2012.  As part of TIPS year-long initiative on Disaster Preparedness and Response, TIPS has put together a significant program with national and regional leaders to discuss preparing for and responding to disasters caused by nature.  The Disaster Initiative program will take place on May 17 at the Charleston Place Hotel starting at 2:00 p.m. 

The first of two panels will discuss disasters caused by nature and will focus on the recovery efforts and lessons learned from events like the tornadoes that hit Alabama and other parts of the Southeast.  Tentatively titled "I Survived the Big One – Lessons Learned From Living Through Natural Disasters," this panel, moderated by James Myrick of Womble Carlyle, features the following prominent speakers: The Honorable Beverly E. Perdue, Governor of North Carolina (invited); The Honorable Joseph P. Riley, Mayor, City of Charleston, South Carolina, and The Honorable William A. Bell, Sr., Mayor, Birmingham, Alabama.

The second panel, which starts at 3:30 p.m., will address disaster preparedness from a national perspective.  Tentatively titled "Preparing for the Worst – Is the Nation Prepared for Natural Disasters?" this panel, moderated by TIPS Disaster Task Force Chair Kathleen Strickland of Ropers Majeski, features the following important national figures:  the Honorable Bernice B. Donald, Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit; Edward T. Collins, National Director, ProtectingAmerica.org; James R (Bob) Dailey, Ph.D, P.E., F.ASCE, Senior Managing Engineer, Exponent, Inc.; and Russ Paulsen, Executive Director, Community Preparedness and Resilience Services, American Red Cross.

On Friday, May 18, additional CLE programs on disaster preparedness continue from 8:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.  If you are involved in disaster preparedness and response, you don't want to miss these fabulous programs.  For more information about TIPS and its Disaster Initiative and to register for the TIPS Spring Meeting, click here.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Disaster Initiative Writing Competition Results in Winning Papers

The American Bar Association's Tort, Trial & Insurance Practice Section's Writing Competition as part of its Disaster Preparedness and Response Initiative has resulted so far in two fabulous winning papers from the Fall meeting in Seattle and the Mid-year meeting in New Orleans.  You can read the winning law student papers on the TIPS Disaster Initiative Page here and on this blog page here.  The first winning student paper from the Fall meeting in Seattle is by Melissa Muir and is entitled : How the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals Has Changed The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Public Appeals Program: The Little Executive Board That Can.  The second winning student paper from the Mid-year meeting in New Orleans is by  Artis G. Ulmer, III and is entitled:
The Infliction of Intentional Torts in Preparation for or in Response to a Natural Disaster.  The competition continues in the Spring from North Carolina and in the Summer from Chicago where more students will vie for the winning submission on Disaster Preparedness and Response.  For more information on the writing competition, please click here.  For more information on TIPS Disaster Initiative and the upcoming programs, please click here.

Friday, February 3, 2012

ABA Mid-year Meeting Disaster Panels Were Great

The TIPS Disaster Panels held today in New Orleans were great. The first panel moderated by Allan Kanner took us through how courts litigants, and insurers view and address mass tort disasters. Professor McGovern, Judge Rosenthal, and Ted Henke were all thoughtful and informative on a wide range of issues concerning managing mass tort disasters. The second panel moderated by Jennifer Kilpatrick gave us an intimate look at how a disaster like Katrina affects the courts, the judges, and access to justice. Judges Robley and Landrieu shared their very personal experiences and the lessons learned by both the state and federal courts that apply to any judicial system after a disaster.   Read the article about this panel on the ABA Journal's website by clicking here.

If you follow TIPS on Twitter @abatips or hashtag #dpri you were able to follow live comments on these terrific panels. Please join TIPS in May in Charleston, NC and in August in Chicago for the final two Disaster Initiative live programs.  Click here for more information on TIPS Disaster Initiative.