Larson LLP Vies to Lead Oil Spill Litigation

Oil spill in ocean

Partner Stephen G. Larson appeared before U.S. District Judge David O. Carter on Dec. 15 for a status conference regarding which law firm or firms would lead the Orange County oil spill class action, Daily Journal reported.

Larson LLP originally teamed with McCune Wright Arevalo LLP to represent a class of bait and tackle companies in the litigation against Amplify Energy Corp. for the major oil spill detected off the Orange County coast on Oct. 2. “More than 20 firms filed more than a dozen class actions on behalf of retailers, artists, property owners, fishers, and residents,” the article noted.

In an article on Nov. 5, Daily Journal reported that Stephen later “filed papers offering to lead the litigation in partnership with a prominent Santa Ana plaintiffs’ law firm,” Aitken Aitken Cohn. The bid, as Stephen acknowledged in his filing, was an “unorthodox approach,” but he argued that “he and [firm head Wylie] Aitken have considerable environmental class action experience, have deep roots in Southern California, and have a reputation for being collegial and professional.” His motion stated that “the firms can leverage their experience and unique knowledge of the region and can help facilitate genuine relationships with the affected residents and businesses . . .  A hierarchical structure run by a two-firm leadership would be the most effective.”

At the status conference, Daily Journal noted that Stephen “touted his prior experience as a U.S. district judge in Riverside, a U.S. magistrate judge, and [a] federal prosecutor,” as well as his firm’s considerable experience “conducting discovery in jurisdictions around the globe.” 

“We’re surrounded by great attorneys. This whole group is great, and we’re working well together. We’re making contributions but it needs leadership,” Stephen stated to Judge Carter.

Judge Carter said that “he was aware of and impressed by many of the attorneys, and deciding who will be lead counsel will be difficult,” Daily Journal noted. To all of the firms competing for interim lead class counsel, Judge Carter gave a warning: “You’re going to be put to the test . . . you’ll be working just as hard as you always worked.”

Read the full articles by Gina Kim of Daily Journal about the status conference here and Stephen’s filing here (subscription required).

About Daily Journal

Across Los Angeles and San Francisco, Daily Journal provides California attorneys with the news and information they need, covering the courts, regulatory changes, State Bar, and legal community. changes Learn more on the Daily Journal website here


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