Judge hears arguments in oil industry lawsuit
NEW ORLEANS - A federal judge in New Orleans is likely months away from deciding whether Plaquemines Parish's lawsuit against oil companies over coastal damage belongs in state or federal court.
U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey heard arguments Wednesday and set a schedule for briefs and replies lasting into September. His decision will likely indicate whether a series of such lawsuits filed by Plaquemines and Jefferson parishes will be tried in state court or federal court.
The suits allege a variety of environmental law violations, including operating waste pits without permits and dredging canals without using techniques to prevent erosion and encroachment of salt water from the Gulf of Mexico.
The parishes want the cases tried in state district courts.
The oil companies argue the federal court has jurisdiction.