La. attorney wants judges to consolidate 100-plus Gulf oil spill lawsuits to avoid legal chaos

MIAMI (AP) — An attorney is asking a panel of federal judges to quickly consolidate more than 100 lawsuits filed against BP and other companies involved in the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Louisiana lawyer Daniel Becnel said Wednesday that legal chaos could break out in five Gulf Coast states if the lawsuits aren't combined. The panel of judges, based in Washington state, has indicated it will not decide until July. Becnel wants them to take another look at that decision considering the number of lawsuits that have been filed.

Many lawsuits are potential class actions that could include tens of thousands of plaintiffs. They've been filed by fishermen, seafood businesses, hotels, restaurants, resorts and other interests claiming economic losses from the oil spill.