Judge Barbier, the MDL judge for Deepwater Horizon (BP) oil spill cases, spoke today at a Louisiana trial-lawyer conference. Nothing inherently wrong with that, but it creates unneeded controversy when they refuse to let the press in, even when the reporter offered to pay the $424 fee. I'm quoted in the Louisiana Record story on the controversy.
In 1994, Judge G. Ross Anderson recused himself from further participation in Cameron v. General Motors Corp. because of the content of remarks he made at the 1993 South Carolina Trial Lawyer's Association Auto Torts Seminar held in Atlanta, Georgia. I have no blanket objection to a judge speaking to a group of trial lawyers or defense lawyers. The panel discussion where Judge Barbier spoke does have a fairly neutral description; one hopes that the content of Judge Barbier's remarks to the trial lawyers would not provide grounds for questioning his impartiality, and, if Judge Barbier's remarks were as anodyne as I would expect them to be, one hopes that the trial lawyers release those remarks to the public so that Judge Barbier's impartiality is not questioned unfairly.