The Associated Press reports that Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood confirms he has hired former Attorney General Mike Moore, former Supreme Court Justice Reuben Anderson, and a forensic accounting firm to handle Mississippi’s claims against BP over the Gulf oil spill in 2010.
In a statement released yesterday, Hood said, “I have been working with former Supreme Court Justice Ruben Anderson and former Attorney General Mike Moore to assemble a team of lawyers and experts to quickly develop our economic damage model and calculate the economic loss to the state in the BP case. I chose Justice Anderson, who has a reputation which is beyond reproach, for his gentlemanly negotiation skills and General Moore because of his experience in negotiating the largest settlement on behalf of the state in the nation’s history.”
Hood also hired Legier & Co, who he said is working with Louisiana and Florida in matters similar, and because they have “extensive experience in connection with BP oil spill claims.”
Those in opposition of the hiring of Moore and Anderson want Hood’s power limited, and are critical of hiring private attorneys for state litigation. Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said in a statement that, “It’s unfortunate General Hood continues to put his own political interest before the taxpayers’ interest. We need a more transparent process that allows taxpayers to know how much of their money will go toward private legal counsel,” the Miami Herald reports.
Sen. Joey Fillingane said, “It just seems to me that a lawsuit that would be this wide and this deep, that you would want to put a bid out to see who would want to represent the state rather than just handpicked friends you’ve been close to for many years.”
Hood said in a statement that those chosen to represent the state are working on a contingency fee, “which would allows the lawyers to share in the state’s recovery, but due to the gross negligence of BP and other responsible parties courts are allowed to make the defendants pay the attorney fees above and beyond the state’s recovery.” He continued, “The arrangement is consistent with how the other Gulf States are handling their claims.”