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Bondi hires legal team to assist with state's BP oil spill claim

Nearly two years after the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in the gulf, Attorney General Pam Bondi has hired reinforcement in the state's impending legal battle with BP over economic damages from the oil spill.

The legal team consists of the following firms: Nix Patterson & Roach, LLP; Harrison, Rivard, Duncan & Buzzett; Fowler White Boggs P.A.; and Harrison Sale McCloy. Here's the contract.

Bondi says these firms have represented local governments and private clients in claims against BP through the Gulf Coast Claims Facility process, Bondi said. The lead firm is Nix Patterson, which previously pursued cases against BP, among other oil companies, as co-lead counsel in Federal False Claims Act cases, Bondi said.

One of the chosen lawyers, Carl Nelson, who works for Fowler White Boggs, praised Bondi last year for not pursuing a lawsuit against BP like other gulf states as criticism of the choice mounted on the spill's first anniversary.

"I just can't believe the courage that the governor and the attorney general displayed by deciding to stay out of that litigation," Nelson told the Times/Herald. "It's important to follow this claims process."

The contract requires the legal team and agency to try getting all attorneys’ fees, costs and expenses "paid by one or more of the parties legally responsible for the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill," according to a news release.

The contingency fee arrangement that Bondi's office negotiated will not go higher than 2.5 percent of the gross recovery on economic claims, the release said, which is half of the 5 percent contingency fee permitted by law.

The following 10 teams of law firms responded to the request for proposal:
  · Duane Morris LLP.
  · The  Hogan  Law  Firm with Foote, Meyers, Mielke & Flowers; Wiggins
     Childs  Quinn  &  Pantazis; Mellon Webster & Shelly; Lemmon Law Firm;
     and Jan R. Schlichtmann
  · Beggs & Lane with Balch & Bigham LLP
  · Bajo Cuva Cohen & Turkel P.A.
  · GrayRobinson with: Chalos O’Connor, LLP and Robert W. Wells
  · Harrison, Rivard, Duncan & Buzzett with: Nix Patterson & Roach, LLP, Fowler White Boggs P.A., and Harrison Sale McCloy.
  · Berger Singerman LLP with: Kuykendall & Associates, LLC and Charlotte H. Danciu, P.A.
  · Napoli Bern Ripka Shkolnik LLP.
  · Clark Partington Hart Larry Bond & Stackhouse with: Aylstock, Witkin, Kreis & Overholtz.
  · Galloway, Johnson, Tompkins, Burr and Smith.