Bradford P. Anderson
Special to CNN
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/OPINION/06/09/anderson.lawyers.oil/tzleft.bradford.anderson.courtesy.jpg caption="Bradford Anderson says thousands of claims already made, some paid, in Gulf oil spill" width=300 height=169]
Editor's note: Bradford Anderson is a law lecturer for Graduate Business Programs at the Orfalea College of Business at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California where he teaches business law and legal strategy. He has been practicing law for 23 years.
The oil hasn't stopped gushing, but the spill in the Gulf is already spewing a multitude of lawsuits.
Thousands of claims point the finger of blame at BP, which operates the well; Transocean, owner of the drill rig; Cameron International, the manufacturer of the blowout protection valve; and Halliburton, which performed work on the well just before the explosion that led to the spill.
As with the Exxon Valdez disaster, litigation could easily continue for nearly 20 years, and massive legal fees will be earned by - or at least paid to - attorneys representing each side. BP told Congress that it "will pay all necessary cleanup costs and is committed to paying legitimate claims for other loss and damages caused by the spill." What that ends up meaning depends largely on the legal limits in place - and, of course, the lawyers.
Eleven oil workers were killed in the April 20 explosion that preceded the Gulf Coast oil spill. "These were exceptional men", said Steven Newman, president and CEO of Transocean, which owns the Deepwater Horizon rig the men were aboard. "They were colleagues and crew members, hard-working men who loved their country and their god."
Fareed Zakaria | BIO
CNN Anchor, “Fareed Zakaria – GPS”
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/OPINION/06/10/zakaria.obama.media.frenzy/tzleft.fareed.zakaria.cnn.jpg caption="Fareed Zakaria says Obama is feeding a media frenzy that risks damage to the presidency" width=300 height=169]
Editor's note: Fareed Zakaria is an author and foreign affairs analyst who hosts "Fareed Zakaria GPS" on CNN U.S. on Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET and CNN International at 2 and 10 p.m. Central European Time / 5 p.m. Abu Dhabi / 9 p.m. Hong Kong.
President Obama's stepped-up focus on the Gulf oil disaster and his hardline rhetoric against BP are accomplishing little and risk distracting the White House from other urgent responsibilities, says analyst Fareed Zakaria.
Obama, responding to critics of the government's handling of the spill, has made a point of emphasizing the time he's devoted to the crisis and has used blunt language to express outrage about it. In an interview with NBC, he said he met with experts "because they potentially have the best answers, so I know whose ass to kick."
CNN Wire Staff
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/US/06/10/gulf.oil.spill/t1larg.gulf.oil.spill.cnn.jpg caption=""I still don't know who's in charge," said Billy Nungesser, president of Plaquemines Parish." width=300 height=169]
A local Louisiana official told a Senate subcommittee Thursday that it remains unclear who is in charge of the response to the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster.
"I still don't know who's in charge," said Billy Nungesser, president of Plaquemines Parish. "Is it BP? Is it the Coast Guard? ... I have spent more time fighting the officials of BP and the Coast Guard than fighting the oil."
What is needed, Nungesser said, is someone "with the guts and the will to make decisions."
Nungesser asserted the line of booms now deployed to keep oil off the Louisiana coast "is not working. ... It's a joke."
CNN Wire Staff
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/US/06/09/bp.oil.disaster.media/story.doug.suttles.gi.jpg caption="BP denied it ordered cleanup workers not to talk to reporters" width=300 height=169]
BP denied Wednesday that it has ordered cleanup workers not to talk to reporters.
"Recent media reports have suggested that individuals involved in the cleanup operation have been prohibited from speaking to the media, and this is simply untrue," BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles said in a letter e-mailed to CNN by a company spokesman.
"BP fully supports and defends all individuals rights to share their personal thoughts and experiences with journalists if they choose."
CNN Special Investigations Unit
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/US/06/10/gulf.oil.spill/c1main.jpg caption="The Limitation of Liability Act of 1851 meant to keep U.S. Merchant Marine competitive." width=300 height=169]
They are the first victims of the oil disaster that has devastated the Gulf region: 11 oil rig workers killed on April 20 when the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded, torching the sky and puncturing the sea.
Their remains have been lost in the Gulf of Mexico. At least 17 others were injured in the massive explosion.
Victims and their families are suing BP and Transocean, the Swiss-based company that owns the drilling rig.
But getting a settlement from Transocean, the world's largest offshore drilling company, could be difficult.
CNN Wire Staff
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://www.cnn.com/video/world/2010/06/10/mexico.image.cnn.300×169.jpg caption="The death was the second at the hands of U.S. border authorities in less than two weeks." width=300 height=169]
A video obtained by CNN raises questions about a U.S. Border Patrol agent's claim that he fatally shot a 14-year-old boy in Ciudad Juarez while he was surrounded by rock-throwing suspected illegal immigrants.
CNN obtained the video, which was shot by a witness on a cell phone camera from the Mexican side of the border, from affiliate Univision. The video aired on its program Primer Impacto late Wednesday.
The video shows part of the build-up before the incident, with several individuals running underneath the Puente Negro, a railroad span that connects the two countries.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta | BIO
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent
As a feature of CNNhealth.com, our team of expert doctors will answer readers' questions. Here are several questions related to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico for Dr. Gupta.
From Jacque, Mobile, Alabama
"What health problems could the dispersant Corexit cause? I still don't understand why BP continues to use it."
Jacque, that's an interesting question. Hundreds of thousands of gallons of Corexit dispersants have been sprayed into the oil slick since April. It's banned in many countries including Great Britain. But it's approved by the EPA here in the U.S., despite the fact that it has been rated less effective and more toxic than many other EPA-approved dispersants. A lot of people know that now.
I talked to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson about that very thing and pointed out there's a list of 18 dispersants, and out of that list, this is one of the most toxic. It's unclear why BP continues to use it. Jackson said the EPA has encouraged BP to stop using this particular substance.
I found the product information sheet on the website of the manufacturer of this dispersant. It's says it's classified as a hazardous substance, and it says you have to use adequate ventilation and certainly use some sort of mask or breathing apparatus when applying it.
That certainly raises concerns when we see pictures of people working on the oil slick without any breathing protection.
From Doug, Memphis, Tennessee
"What are the risks to all the seafood that comes out of the Gulf? Could it be tainted?"
CNN Wire Staff
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://www.cnn.com/video/us/2010/06/10/malveaux.oil.rig.families.cnn.576×324.jpg caption="President Obama will host families of workers killed in the BP oil rig blast at White House." width=300 height=169]
President Obama will host the families of the 11 workers killed in the BP oil rig explosion at the White House on Thursday.
"Obviously, the president will express his heartfelt condolences for the families of the 11 that lost their lives the very first night of the explosion," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said.
"I think he is eager to discuss with them what their family was telling them about safety conditions and what type of changes can and must be made in the regulatory framework to ensure that deepwater drilling that goes forward is done in a way that is safe and not life-threatening."
The meeting with the families comes as the administration sends Labor Secretary Hilda Solis to New Orleans, Louisiana, to meet with fishermen affected by the gushing oil and as Capitol Hill opens another series of hearings on the mater.
Obama has announced plans to visit the Gulf Coast again next week. His itinerary includes stops in Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, three of the four states affected by the disaster. It will be his fourth trip to the region since the gusher began in late April.