New Ala. AG fires private firms handling BP case

Jessica M. Karmasek Jan. 27, 2011, 8:54am

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (Legal Newsline) - Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange has fired the two plaintiffs' firms handling the state's lawsuit against oil giant BP and has named himself lead counsel, according to reports.

Strange replaced former Attorney General Troy King, whom Strange defeated in the state's Republican primary last year.

Alabama, under King, is the only state to have sued oil giant BP and others over the Gulf oil spill in an effort to make up for lost state tax revenue.

An explosion and fire occurred on Transocean's drilling rig Deepwater Horizon, licensed to BP, on April 20, killing 11 workers and resulting in the largest offshore spill in U.S. history.

King filed two lawsuits in August -- one against the oil company and the other against Transocean, Halliburton and other companies associated with the spill. The suits seek economic and punitive damages, but no amount was specified.

King described the spill as "the largest legal disaster ever encountered," and contended the state would be working for years to rebuild its economy.

Strange told Reuters Legal that the outside counsel was unnecessary and too costly for the state.

"I'm not going to give any law firm 15 to 20 percent of the money due the people of the state of Alabama," he said in the interview. "Any money received will go directly to citizens, not to lawyers."

The new attorney general told Reuters Legal he planned to make his first appearance in the case on Friday before U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier of the Eastern District of Louisiana in New Orleans.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at

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