“SLFPA-E filed this lawsuit in order to protect the lives, property, and culture of coastal Louisiana” said Gladstone Jones, lead attorney for SLFPAE. “The oil and gas industry has used the rhetoric of ‘greedy trial lawyers’ to distract from the true facts of this case that show these companies played a role in the coastal erosion of South Louisiana. This proposal puts an end to that distraction."
The fee agreement between the firms and the SLFPA-E has been the subject of legislation that is currently moving through the Louisiana Legislature. Governor Jindal, oil and gas lobbyists, and friendly legislators have used discussion of it to deflect attention from the core issue of the case – the land loss crisis facing coastal Louisiana.
In order to get that issue out of the way, the lawyers have made the following proposal:
The lawyers will agree to waive fees owed under the existing fee agreement with the SLFPAE with respect to any oil, gas or pipeline defendant named in the SLFPAE action that:
(1) agrees within 6 months to enter into negotiations toward a compromise and
(2) agrees to pay mutually agreeable attorneys’ fees in connection with such a compromise. In the event the parties cannot reach a mutual agreement, all parties agree to submit the question of the attorneys’ fee to arbitration.
Gladstone Jones went on to say “We are in this with the citizens and taxpayers of South Louisiana. It’s time for South Louisiana to see some leadership from the Legislature and the Governor that demonstrates a commitment to protect the lives and property of the good people of South Louisiana. If these companies aren’t forced to fix what they broke, then taxpayers will be on the hook for billions. The Legislature should leave the third branch of government to do its job because evidence, not influence, should decide this case.
(Press Relase: Jones Swanson law firm)