Harrison County

Biloxi will join lawsuit seeking more oil-spill money

Contractors oversee protective boom at Deer Island off the coast of Biloxi as they look to protect the island from possible effects from the oil spill in 2010. Biloxi Council on Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2016, agreed to join a class action suit for a potential claim against Transocean, Halliburton and others.
Contractors oversee protective boom at Deer Island off the coast of Biloxi as they look to protect the island from possible effects from the oil spill in 2010. Biloxi Council on Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2016, agreed to join a class action suit for a potential claim against Transocean, Halliburton and others. Sun Herald File 2010

Like other communities in South Mississippi, Biloxi received millions from BP for damages after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

On Tuesday, the City Council hired attorneys to file a claim against other companies involved in the 2010 disaster.

“There’s a chance for us to recover more than came from BP,” said Gerald Blessey, city attorney.

Attorney Peter Abide of Currie Johnson & Myer and W. Corban Gunn of Corban Gunn will represent the city in the class-action suit under the HESI/Transocean Settlement Program. Potential claims will be filed against Halliburton Energy Services Inc., Halliburton Co., Triton Asset Leasing GmbH, Transocean Deepwater Inc., Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling Inc. and Transocean Holdings.

Biloxi’s contract calls for hourly fees with the total not to exceed $50,000.

Abide said he believes Gulfport agreed to pay attorney fees of 15 percent of the settlement.

Nobody knows how much Biloxi may collect under the settlement, but Abide said, “It’s based on the amount of property you own.”

Biloxi’s claim would be considerably more than an individual property owner, he said.

In other action Tuesday, the council:

▪  Approved a three-year agreement with U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command to periodically hold military training exercises in the city. The training could include surveillance, raid, foot movement of troops and equipment, helicopter operations and other training. Special forces have trained in Biloxi before and coordinate with Biloxi Police Department.

▪  Agreed to submit a grant application to develop a city-wide driving and biking tour.

▪  Hired the Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District to complete a redistricting plan that is required following annexation. Blessey said the redistricting is required before next spring’s municipal elections and SMPDD was most qualified and had the lowest price.

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