New Orleans, LA (September 17, 2020) – Louisiana’s leading trade associations took legal action this week to help protect workers in the state’s energy sector who risk losing their livelihoods due to predatory coastal lawsuits. The associations filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, supporting the defendants’ appeal to keep these lawsuits – which dispute decades of federally authorized oil and gas operations – in federal court.
Signatories of the amicus include the organizations that represent the state’s largest employers, including the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI), the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association (LOGA), the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association (LMOGA) and the Louisiana Chemical Association (LCA).
“These lawsuits not only directly threaten thousands of jobs, but they also threaten the very way of life in Louisiana that we have known for almost a century,” said LABI President and CEO Stephen Waguespack. “For decades, our state has been able to balance the production of critical resources with protection of our bountiful sportsman’s paradise. These lawsuits will disrupt that balance and devastate our state’s economy.”
A copy of the amicus brief is available HERE. An amicus brief is a commonly used legal tool that allows interested stakeholders who are not named as a party in the lawsuit to inform the court of the potential broader implications of a decision.
The brief is in support of petitions for rehearing filed with the Fifth Circuit by the defendants in two coastal lawsuits, Parish of Plaquemines v. Chevron USA Inc. et al., and Parish of Cameron v. BP America Production Co. et al. These lawsuits, challenging thousands of federally authorized exploration and production activities conducted over the last century, “present the quintessential case for federal jurisdiction” according to the defendants’ petition.
The defendants, who employ thousands of Louisianans, made the request for reconsideration in response to a decision from a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit, which upheld a lower court's decision to send the cases back to state court.
“The panel’s decision causes uncertainty, violates the rule of orderliness, and creates a split in the circuits,” said Thomas M. Flanagan, with Flanagan Partners LLP, who serves as counsel for amici curiae. “The Court should grant rehearing to address these significant issues. It is important for not only the Louisiana oil and gas industry, but for all employers in the state that the Fifth Circuit’s law remains predictable, consistent, and uniform with other circuits.”