Fla. school districts mull oil spill suits

April 7, 2011 at 12:48 PM   |   Comments

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ORLANDO, Fla., April 7 (UPI) -- Some Florida school districts, cities and counties are preparing to file claims against BP over lost tax money blamed on last year's oil spill, lawyers say.

Attorneys from firms in New York, Dallas and Orlando have been in discussion with school boards and county commissions throughout Florida, the Orlando Sentinel reported Thursday.

The lawsuits, if filed, would seek compensation for lost taxes, particularly sales and tourism taxes, blamed on the April 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig and the subsequent oil spill, lawyers said.

Less than two weeks remain to file claims before a court-imposed deadline, Scott Weinstein, managing partner at Orlando firm Morgan & Morgan, said.

That still leaves time for new claims, he said.

"Presenting a claim is just saying 'here I am.' It doesn't require you to have your experts and damage formulas lined up," he said.

School districts have been talking among themselves for a while about whether to join the legal effort, a lawyer for one school board said.

"This topic has been bubbling around among school board attorneys for a month or two," Leon County School Board attorney Jeff Wahlen said. "I think the superintendents have been talking about it too. I think we did not want to miss the train."

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