Lead counsel for BP ERISA suits named

Steve Korris Feb. 9, 2011, 9:37am

HOUSTON – Lawyers for shareholders suing BP under federal retirement law spared U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison the delicate task of choosing their leaders.

On Feb. 3, Ellison received notice from 21 lawyers that they picked Liner Grode of San Francisco and Milberg LLP of New York City as co-lead counsel.

District judge for the Southern District of Texas, Ellison presides over shareholder suits that the U. S. Judicial Panel on Multi District Litigation consolidated and assigned to him last year.

An executive committee will include two other New York firms, Harwood Feffer and Squitieri & Fearon.

Two Houston firms, Ajamie LLP and Lanier Law Firm, will act as liaisons with lawyers outside the executive committee.

The 21 jointly wrote, "BP ERISA plaintiffs have worked diligently to resolve the competing motions to appoint lead counsel."

They wrote that they had consent from all plaintiffs and counsel in ERISA actions.

They allege BP's losses from the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill harmed pensions in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

Leadership decisions remain pending for two other groups in Ellison's court, one suing BP under securities law and the other seeking derivative authority over BP.

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