Bayou Corne Sinkhole Litigation

(Client: Liberty Mutual)

The firm represents an excess liability insurer that issued a $50 million excess policy in connection with sprawling litigation arising out of the discovery of a sinkhole formation and its ensuing impact on the surrounding area. The insurer’s insured is one of many parties alleged to have caused or contributed to the formation of the sinkhole from its salt mining and other activities. Claims and lawsuits have been filed by homeowners, pipeline companies, and state and local government agencies, seeking damages and recovery of remediation or clean up costs resulting from  contamination or pollution, radioactive materials, subsidence, damages to natural wetlands, and harmful odors. The damages claimed by various parties allegedly total approximately $200M. Although the first trial is not scheduled until 2016, the Firm has secured two important wins for its client arising out of pretrial litigation. The Firm recently convinced an appellate court to reverse both a temporary restraining order and a finding of contempt. The Louisiana Supreme Court then unanimously denied writs.