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In re Deepwater Horizon Belo Cases

United States District Court, N.D. Florida, Pensacola Division

November 19, 2019

IN RE DEEPWATER HORIZON BELO CASES This Document Relates to First Trial Pool Cases Listed in Exhibit A

          Gary R. Jones, Magistrate Judge.

          ORDER

          M. CASEY RODGERS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         On November 19, 2019, the Court held a telephonic Rule 16 Conference with counsel to discuss matters related to the first trial pool, which now consists of 21 cases.[1] see Exhibit A. Present for the Plaintiffs were Alison Divine, [2] the Nations Law Firm; Allen Lindsay, Lindsay & Andrews; Gabriel Hawa, The Downs Law Group P.A.; and Timothy Falcon of the Falcon Law Firm. Present for the Defendants were Francis McDonald and Sarah Long of McDonald Toole Wiggins P.A. and Kevin Hodges of Williams & Connolly LLP. This Order memorializes the matters discussed and decided on the record and provides additional dates for compliance applicable to the first trial pool, as follows:

         1. All parties verified their compliance with the disclosure and profile requirements of Judge Barbier's Initial Case Management Order prior to transfer to this Court.[3] It was brought to the Court's attention, however, that due to the Court's prior stay, the Defendants have not yet taken action to obtain records through Plaintiffs' authorizations/releases. The Defendants are hereby directed to immediately, and in no event later than 14 days from the date of this Order, pursue all necessary records using the executed releases.

         2. The Court intends to further subdivide the first pool of cases so that they may proceed with an efficient and structured case specific discovery process. To aid the Court in this process, including the preparation of a final scheduling order, the parties are directed to email the following information to the Court by Thursday, November 21, 2019:[4]

(a) Plaintiff profile forms,
(b) Rule 26(a) disclosures,
(c) A list identifying which Plaintiffs, if any, are seeking lost wages; and
(d) Defendants' identification of fact witnesses commonly used and already identified in other BELO cases.[5]

         3. The Defendants requested that Plaintiffs promptly provide information identifying the physical samples they intend to rely on for general causation. The Court agrees and directs the Plaintiffs to provide Defendants the identity of the samples within five (5) days of this Order.

         4. The Court raised the possibility of employing a litigation support firm, BrownGreer, PLC, to assist with efficiently moving this litigation forward as a whole. The parties agreed to consider the potential benefits of establishing a litigation platform. By separate order, the Court will arrange a conference date for the parties to hear more information regarding BrownGreer's services relative to this litigation.

         5. A Final Scheduling Order will be entered separately.

         6. This Court's records show that Ms. Divine has not made an appearance in any BELO case in this Court, she is not currently admitted in the Northern District of Florida, she has not completed the online Attorney Admission Tutorial, and she has not requested pro hac vice status. Ms. Divine has thirty (30) days to comply with the Court's admissions process. The Clerk is directed to mail her a copy of this Order, addressed to Alison Divine, The Nations Law Firm, 3131 Briarpark Drive, Suite 208, Houston, Texas 77042.

         DONE ...


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