Under Fire, Two BP Objectors' Lawyers Withdraw Appeal

, The Litigation Daily


This story was first published by The National Law Journal, an American Lawyer sibling publication.

Attorneys Ted Frank and Darrell Palmer have withdrawn their appeals of two settlements with BP over the Deepwater Horizon oil spill after several of their former clients accused them of misconduct.

Frank, a Washington attorney and founder of the Center for Class Action Fairness, and Palmer, a solo practitioner in Carlsbad, Calif., were fired by three of their clients on Nov. 22. Those objectors, Florida property owners now represented by Ronnie Penton, a solo practitioner in Bogalusa, La., voluntarily withdrew their appeals of both the $9.6 billion settlement resolving economic damages claims and a smaller deal over medical claims associated with the 2010 spill’s cleanup, citing their prior counsel’s “unauthorized and unapproved actions and conduct.”

In filings made Tuesday before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Frank and Palmer voluntarily dismissed their remaining clients – a father and son -- citing the risk of potential sanctions threatened against their clients by lead plaintiffs counsel in both settlements. They denied accusations from plaintiffs counsel that their clients weren’t legitimate class members.

Neither Frank nor Palmer responded to requests for comment.

Frank and Palmer in court papers also responded on Tuesday to the accusations made by their former clients. In a Fifth Circuit filing, they maintained that they regularly informed their former clients of all court documents and other materials, including a pending sanctions motion against Palmer in the medical claims case. “Given the abusive depositions they underwent, and the threat of further abusive depositions, it is understandable that the [three objectors] have decided they no longer wish to pursue their appeals and objections,” they wrote. Their new attorney, however, is “not entitled to make gratuitous and reckless allegations” against them.

Also on Tuesday, lead plaintiffs attorneys dropped their sanctions motion filed in district court against Palmer and his former clients.

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