John previously noted an op-ed by Frank Nocera that bemoaned the mistreatment of BP at the hands of Louisiana's trial lawyers. Nocera claimed that BP was seeking to "do right" by the Gulf region but was getting "fleeced" and "hosed" in Louisiana. Nocera even compared the situation to events in Putin's Russia. Nocera did not offer any evidence to support his vitriol but suggested that something must be amiss because the current administrator of the BP settlement fund and the judge overseeing the settlement were former plaintiffs' lawyers and had consistently ruled against BP's interests.
The New York Times has since printed a correction:
An earlier version of this column incorrectly described Patrick Juneau, the administrator of the claims stemming from the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. He is a civil defense lawyer, not a plaintiffs’ lawyer.
While I am pleased that the New York Times has made this correction (I was one of probably many that wrote to the Times about the error), both Mr. Juneau and the federal judge deserved better from the Times. The professional backgrounds of lawyers and judges do not dictate how they perform their duties. Attacking them on this basis serves only to undermine the public's faith in the justice system.
There is a demonstrable shift away from appointing private practitioners to the federal bench and the knee-jerk association of attorneys with their clients may help to explain why this is the case.