05 April 2013

Oil spill judge slams Halliburton lawyers

The federal judge overseeing BP's Gulf of Mexico oil spill trial has ripped into lawyers representing oil field services giant Halliburton for repeatedly delaying the turning over of evidence.

By James Barnes

Oil spill evidence delays

US District Court Judge Carl Barbier slated the lawyers yesterday after the delayed production of test results on the cement used to try to seal BP's Macondo well, saying it had ‘become a pattern now’, reports The Times-Picayune.

Late filing

Judge Barbier labelled Houston-headquartered Halliburton’s handling of the case as ‘troubling’ after the documents were filed late on Wednesday, with BP lawyers claiming that the files could have been used in the deposition of several high-level Halliburton executives.
BP lawyer and Covington & Burling partner Robert ‘Mike’ Brock urged Judge Barbier to consider the new materials as part of its earlier motion seeking sanctions against Halliburton for not turning samples over to federal investigators. That motion was filed after Halliburton lawyers told the federal court last month that the company had found samples of a cement slurry at its lab in Lafayette.

Relevent evidence

Judge Barbier exclaimed: ‘This has been drip, drip, drip, drip, that we've seen in this case, where evidence all of a sudden is discovered, whether it be a bucket of cement, whether it be documents that should have been produced clearly long ago, has not been produced and now all of a sudden it's discovered and now we're all faced with this issue.’
Lead Halliburton lawyer Donald Godwin contended earlier that the recently discovered cement has ‘nothing to do with this trial’.
However, a clearly riled Judge Barbier responded: ‘It's clear that you knew, your client knew, everybody's known for some time now that the Kodiak well and the Kodiak cement was implicated in this case… there's no doubt that that evidence is arguably relevant to this case, to the Macondo well, because the undisputed evidence is that the underlying or initial cement blend that was used on Macondo was left over from Kodiak.

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