Pabst v. BP Exploration & Production, Inc. et al
ORDER AND REASONS: Plaintiff's 24 Motion to Stay is GRANTED. IT IS ORDERED that this case is hereby STAYED until the Claims Administrator addresses Plaintiff's new NOIS submitted on November 3, 2021, and until the Defendants elect to mediate or not, if necessary. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff's pending 26 Ex Parte Motion for Extension of Deadlines for Expert Disclosures is DENIED AS MOOT. Signed by Judge Jane Triche Milazzo on 1/6/2022. (cwa)
Case 2:21-cv-00290-JTM-DPC Document 27 Filed 01/06/22 Page 1 of 5
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
BP EXPLORATION & PRODUCTION
INC., ET AL.
ORDER AND REASONS
Before the Court is Plaintiff John Pabst’s Motion to Stay (Doc. 24). For
the following reasons, this Motion is GRANTED.
Plaintiff initiated this action pursuant to the Back End Litigation Option
(“BELO”) of the Deepwater Horizon Medical Benefits Class Action Settlement
Agreement (“MSA”) entered in the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Litigation,
MDL 2179.1 The MSA provides the sole remedy for certain class members,
including clean-up workers like Plaintiff, to sue Defendants BP Exploration &
In re Oil Spill by the Oil Rig “Deepwater Horizon” in the Gulf of Mexico, on April 20, 2010,
Case No. 2:10-md-2179. The MSA can be found in the record of that case at Doc. No. 6427-1.
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Production Inc. and BP America Production Company for “Later-Manifested
Physical Conditions” (“LMPC”). LMPCs are defined as physical conditions
allegedly caused by spill-related exposure and first diagnosed after April 16,
The MSA sets out a unique procedure for initiating a BELO lawsuit.
First, class members must submit a Notice of Intent to Sue (“NOIS”) to the
MSA Claims Administrator. The NOIS shall identify the LMPC and provide
proof of the diagnosed condition and the date of first diagnosis. Once the NOIS
is submitted, the Claims Administrator performs a basic review to confirm that
it complies with the requirements of the MSA. If it does, the Claims
Administrator sends the NOIS to Defendants for them to decide whether to
mediate or not. If Defendants choose not to mediate, then the claimant has six
months to file the BELO lawsuit.
In this case, Plaintiff was diagnosed with orbital lymphoma on July 20,
2017, and with a cortical cataract on July 10, 2018.3 Plaintiff submitted his
first NOIS based only on orbital lymphoma in June of 2020, and after following
the above procedure, he filed the instant case in February of 2021.4 On
November 3, 2021, Plaintiff submitted a second NOIS, this time based on his
cataract.5 Now before the Court is Plaintiff’s Motion to Stay the instant case
See Case No. 2179, Doc. 6427-1 at 17–18 (Section II(VV)).
See Docs. 15, ¶ 29; 24-3 at 23.
4 See Doc. 1.
5 See Doc. 24-3 at 29.
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while the Claims Administrator reviews the second NOIS.6 Defendants oppose
staying this case.7
LAW AND ANALYSIS
Plaintiff argues that a stay is necessary because it would be inefficient
for this case to proceed through discovery when in the future Plaintiff will
likely initiate another BELO lawsuit against Defendants based on his second
NOIS. A failure to stay this case, according to Plaintiff, could lead to
duplicative discovery and Daubert motions, as well extra costs from experts.
Plaintiff contends that the most prudent option is to stay the instant case until
the second BELO suit is filed and can be consolidated with this case.
Defendants counter that Plaintiff was diagnosed with cataracts before filing
his first NOIS, and his failure to include the ailment as an LMPC in the past
does not justify a stay in the present. Defendants also argue that a stay
prejudices them by preventing timely resolution and requiring additional
In deciding whether to issue a stay, district courts consider several
factors, including “(1) whether the litigation is at an early stage; (2) whether a
stay will unduly prejudice or tactically disadvantage the non-moving party; (3)
whether a stay will simplify the issues in question and streamline the trial;
and (4) whether a stay will reduce the burden of litigation on the parties and
See Doc. 24.
See Doc. 25.
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on the court.”8 These factors weigh in favor of a stay. First, this case is at an
early stage; only one deadline from the Scheduling Order has passed. Second,
while the Court shares Defendants’ discontent with Plaintiff’s failure to
include his cataract diagnosis in the first NOIS, any concerns about prejudice
are misplaced. There is no guarantee that staying the instant case will be less
timely and more expensive than litigating two similar cases back to back.
Third, a stay may lead to consolidation, which will simplify the issues and
potentially necessitate one trial rather than two. Finally, a stay will reduce the
burden of litigation.
For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff’s Motion to Stay (Doc. 24) is
GRANTED. IT IS ORDERED that this case is hereby STAYED until the
Claims Administrator addresses Plaintiff’s new NOIS submitted on November
3, 2021, and until the Defendants elect to mediate or not, if necessary.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff’s pending Ex Parte Motion
for Extension of Deadlines for Expert Disclosures (Doc. 26) is DENIED AS
Lawrence v. Jefferson Par. Pub. Defs., 20-1615, 2021 WL 6063253, at *2 & n.15 (E.D. La.
Dec. 22, 2021).
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New Orleans, Louisiana this 6th day of January, 2022
JANE TRICHE MILAZZO
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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