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1 June

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday the Justice Department has launched a criminal investigation into the massive oil spill spreading through the Gulf of Mexico.

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4 June

"So there is no perception of a conflict in these cases, yesterday I instructed my broker to sell the few Transocean and Halliburton bonds in my account," U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier said in an e-mail.

BP Plc and Transocean Ltd. oil-spill lawsuits may be combined before a judge from outside the Gulf Coast states, because judges in the region are withdrawing from cases, citing conflicts of interest.

Six of 12 active judges assigned to the federal judicial district based in New Orleans already have removed themselves from spill-damage lawsuits, according to a court official and public records. The judges found conflicts tied to oil investments or personal relationships with lawyers or companies involved....

More than 170 proposed class-action lawsuits, representing potentially thousands of claims, have been filed in courthouses from Texas to Florida. The plaintiffs include fishing industry workers, property owners and coastal businesses harmed by the oil spill caused by the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon in April.

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7 June

The U.S. Justice Department's decision to open a criminal investigation into the Gulf Coast oil spill is threatening to complicate scores of lawsuits brought by people seeking compensation for the disaster.

At issue are questions that often come up in so-called "parallel proceedings" -- in which multiple government agencies are investigating the same event for possible wrongdoing. Different divisions of the Justice and Interior Departments are looking into the oil spill, searching for civil and criminal liability. And in this situation, said lawyers with experience in environmental investigations, the existence of the private lawsuits adds another layer of difficulty.

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Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 12:00:55 PM EST

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