Despite this news, Mike Papantonio is not optomistic that BP is going to end up making good on its promises.
State attorneys general have secured an agreement with BP over reimbursements owed to constituents following the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. The agreement came as five gulf coast state attorneys general met with the oil conglomerate.
Speaking from Jackson, Mississippi, Attorneys General Jim Hood of Mississippi, Jerry Caldwell of Louisiana, and Troy King of Alabama explained they were "cautiously optimistic" about an agreement reached with the oil company.
As Ed Schultz and Mississippi AG Jim Hood discussed in the previous segment, BP looks like they're already judge shopping in Texas.
BP wants more than 70 lawsuits over the Gulf oil spill consolidated before a federal judge in Houston.
The oil giant is asking the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to have U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes to hear pretrial matters for all the cases.
Potential class-action lawsuits have been filed in every Gulf Coast state. Plaintiffs include commercial fishermen, business interests, property owners and others.
Mike Papantonio pointed out just what that might mean for anyone who hopes to recover and damages from BP, Transocean or Halliburton.
Papantonio: This is the first time where I’ve really thought we might have something that looks like a limited fund where you have a bankruptcy. This company’s losing $350 million a day. Jim Hood is a leader but let me just tell you, he’s one of the most aggressive, responsible AG’s probably on the coast, but the truth is, they can make all kinds of promises but what did they do today Ed? They did judge shop. They forum shopped. They went somewhere where they could tell an AG, yeah, we’re there to help you, but then the next thing we know they’re in front of a judge in south Texas where the oil industry is king.
So that didn’t just happen by mistake. And look, I applaud Jim Hood for trying. He’s out front on the fight, but the truth is this is a company that at the end of the day, they’re concerned about one thing; can they survive?
And I’ve got to say this is the first time Ed where I’ve really thought they might not survive and if they go into something called a bankruptcy limited fund, that judge over in Texas—and I’m not…let me just tell you something—I’m going to fight like the dickens to keep it out of Texas because I’m worried about what’s happening in Texas. But at the same time if they do—this is something that could put this company out of money. I’m telling you. Yeah they made $70 billion last year, $27 billion the year before that; but they could argue before a judge that it’s foreseeable that they don’t have enough money to pay for all this, that Transocean, Halliburton, nobody has enough money to pay for all this.
Then what happens? It’s the first time in the last couple of days where I’ve been thinking that’s really a possibility. I hope it’s not, but I’ve got to tell you, I’m lese optimistic that it’s not.
Schultz: Mike, if it gets to a Texas judge, the chances aren’t very good for full restitution. Is that fair?
Papantonio: I think it’s very fair. There’s a couple of things. First of all there’s a circuit, it’s called the Fifth Circuit, it’s one of the least favorable circuits that we want to be with this judge, I mean with this issue. And look, I’ve got to tell you something if you don’t think that they went out of their way to pack those courts these last ten years, the Republicans focused on trying to pack not just the trial courts, but the appellate courts in that state all you have to do is look at the results even on a state level, it’s disastrous.
So this doesn’t just happen that they say, hey we want to go to Texas. There’s more cases filed in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida than Texas.
Schultz: Do you believe that they’re honest brokers when they tell five Attorney Generals that they’re not going to pay attention to the caps?
Papantonio: No…no. I handled….
Schultz: Well they’re all paying attention to caps. They may not pay attention to the cap of $75 million, but there’s going to be a number where they’re going to stop and fight.
Papantonio: You should have heard the promises they made in the tobacco litigation Ed. You should have heard the promises. They’d sit across the table and tell you one thing. The next day they’d do absolutely the opposite of what they promised so….
Schultz: Mike keep up the fight my man.
Papantonio: So I applaud Jim Hood for trying.