SALTER – Hood’s outside counsel choices in BP case will draw some fire

The decision by Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood to appoint his predecessor Mike Moore and Ridgeland attorney Billy Quin as outside counsels to handle the state’s litigation against BP over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill will draw some familiar political fire.

Hood announced last week that the state had filed lawsuits Thursday in federal and state court. The move comes one day before the three-year statute of limitations expires for claims related to the April 20, 2010, explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig that killed 11 and the oil spill that followed. The lawsuits also name rig owner Transocean Ltd., cement contractor Halliburton and lease minority owner Anadarko Petroleum Corp. as defendants.

Hood’s decision to put Moore and Quin in position to lead the BP litigation is controversial only from a political standpoint, not a legal one. Both Moore and Quin have impressive resumes in complex, high profile litigation. Moore worked with now defrocked uber lawyer Dickie Scruggs to win the state’s historic tobacco litigation, and Quin is a former associate of similarly defrocked lawyer Joey Langston when they settled the state’s case against MCI.

Sid Salter