No quick decision from US judicial panel on consolidating oil spill lawsuits

MIAMI (AP) — There will be no quick decision from a federal judicial panel on whether to consolidate more than 130 lawsuits filed over the Gulf oil spill.

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation rejected requests from attorneys to issue a ruling this month. The panel said in an order released Monday it will consider the oil spill cases in July.

Potential class-action lawsuits claiming economic damages began appearing in Gulf Coast states soon after the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig sank a month ago. Plaintiffs include fishermen, the seafood industry, property owners, restaurants, tourism businesses and others.

Many plaintiff attorneys want the cases consolidated before a New Orleans federal judge. The BP oil company favors Houston court.