* Transocean and Halliburton also named as defendants
* Lawsuit is first for economic losses from blowout
* Suit filed on behalf of all coastal Louisiana interests
HOUSTON, April 29 Louisiana shrimpers have
filed a class-action lawsuit against oil giant BP Plc (BP.L)
and owners of the oil rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico,
marking the first claim for economic losses stemming from the
The lawsuit was filed late on Wednesday in U.S. District
Court in New Orleans as London-based BP and the U.S. Coast
Guard fought to contain a massive oil slick expected to hit the
Gulf Coast on Friday. [ID:nN29104665]
The suit was filed on behalf of two commercial shrimp
fishermen named in the suit, and all other coastal Louisiana
residents whose livelihoods are threatened by the spill.
The Coast Guard estimates that 5,000 barrels (210,000
gallons) of crude oil a day is gushing from the sea floor where
the blowout occurred, and authorities have said it could take
weeks to cap the leak as BP mounts what it calls the largest
oil spill containment operation in history.
The suit names as defendants BP, which holds the lease to
the offshore well; Swiss-based Transocean Ltd (RIGN.S) (RIG.N),
owner of the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform that exploded
in flames on April 20 and collapsed two days later; and
Halliburton Energy Services Inc (HAL.N), which the suit says
was engaging in cementing operations of the well and well cap.
The complaint says Halliburton "improperly and negligently
performed these duties, increasing the pressure at the well and
contributing to the fire, explosion and resulting oil spill."
The suit also names Cameron International Corp CAM.N,
which supplied the rig's blow-out prevention equipment "that
failed to operate upon the explosion (and) should have
prevented the oil spill."
There was no immediate comment about the lawsuit from any
of the companies.
The semi-submersible oil drilling rig burst into flames
while finishing a well for BP about 40 miles (64 km) southeast
of the mouth of the Mississippi River.
All the defendants are accused of negligence in the
lawsuit, which seeks economic and compensatory damages of at
least $5 million. That sum is the minimum amount required by
the federal Class Action Fairness Act, on which jurisdiction
for the suit is partially based.
The legal action also seeks an unspecified amount of
"While we're still in the embryonic stages of quantifying
the environmental impact, we're watching in real time, and
somewhat helplessly, a slow-motion disaster," Louisiana-based
lawyer Richard Arsenault, a partner in one of 10 law firms
joining the legal action, said in an email.
The case is Cooper and Anderson vs. BP, 2:10-cv-01229.
(Writing by Steve Gorman; editing by Mary Milliken and