The Gulf Oil Spill Trial--starring Brent Coon, he hopes

The SE Texas Record Oct. 23, 2010, 10:00am

Brent Coon is angling for the catbird seat again. His Beaumont law firm has secured one of the sought-after spots to help gather evidence for the multi-district litigation against BP, et al. in consolidated complaints relating to the Gulf oil spill.

"We have the largest archive of BP testimony and documents in the country and are considered the leading authority on litigation involving BP," Coon boasted in his pitch to lead the litigation.

Coon has filled his tank on British Petroleum before. He made a bundle after the 2005 Texas City refinery explosion, presenting two cases against BP -- one in a court of law, the other in the court of public opinion where procedural rules are quite lax.

Texans might remember Coon's well-publicized but ineffective efforts to hold the former BP CEO personally responsible for the accident. Coon learned to his apparent surprise, that the top executive of a multinational company with headquarters half a world away did not micromanaged the daily operations of a single refinery in Texas.

The stunt may not have secured any additional compensation for the victims of the explosion, but it did generate loads of free airtime and column inches for Brent Coon – and that's seems to be what he wants most along with a major cut of the payday pie. He is, after all, his own favorite client.

Why would such a braggard be selected to help direct the gathering of evidence and filing of motions in what promises to be one of the largest mass tort cases ever? Will the best interests of victims be served by incessant self-promotion that is one of his trademarks? Will anyone besides certain plaintiff lawyers reap any real benefits?

Those are questions only U.S. Fifth District Judge Carl Barbier can answer. He's the judge trying the consolidated cases against BP, and the man responsible for appointing Brent Coon to the evidence gathering group.

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