Attorneys General Ready Florida for Oil Spill Litigation

Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Justin Sawyer observes a controlled burn. U.S. Navy photo.
Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Justin Sawyer observes a controlled burn. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Jeffery Tilghman Williams.
TAMPA (2010-5-10) -

As the oil slick in the Gulf grows – so does the possibility of lawsuits against the well owner, BP. Florida officials are preparing in case the state and private citizens decide to sue.

Two former Florida attorneys general, Bob Butterworth and Jim Smith, are now heading up a special legal advisory team on the BP oil spill at the request of Gov. Charlie Crist.

“We have to be prepared and it’s our duty and obligation particularly the current attorney general and myself to make sure we’re looking out for the interests of Florida now,” Crist said.

One goal of the advisory team is to inform private citizens how to seek compensation.

“We would hope by the end of the day that there will be no litigation that everything will be able to be worked out. Let’s hope that can be done,” Butterworth said. “But obviously we have to be prepared if there is litigation to make sure that the people of the state of Florida are protected as well as the State of Florida itself.”

But so far, Florida officials say BP executives are being very cooperative.

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum said the BP general counsel told him and other attorney generals last Friday that there is no cap to damages and the company is willing to pay out whatever the damages are.

The oil company has already given affected Gulf Coast states $25 million each to prepare for the environmental disaster.

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