Top US chef leads seafood lawsuit against BP –

Top US chef leads seafood lawsuit against BP Published:  29 June, 2010

ONE of the United States’ leading chefs has issued a writ for damages against BP and related companies  for the loss of normal seafood supplies to restaurants in the Gulf region.

Susan Spicer is highly respected in the New Orleans and Louisiana area and she runs the Bayona restaurant in the city’s French Quarter.

But she is not just acting on behalf of her own establishment. She is suing on behalf of restaurants and others in the seafood industry that have suffered damage since the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig.

Ms. Spicer filed a complaint at the weekend in New Orleans Federal Court. Her lawyer Serena Pollack said the restaurants depend heavily on the availability of local seafood.

One of her arguments is that because of the disaster, they are likely to lose customers due to the fall in the number of tourists and business visitors.

The lawsuit also names as defendants, Transocean who operated the rig, Cameron who provided the blowout preventer, and Halliburton that provided the cementing services. The lawsuit is seeking compensatory and punitive damages from BP.

This is far from being  the only action facing BP. At least  250 lawsuits have been filed – largely from fishermen, fishing companies and seafood suppliers –  over alleged losses from the oil spill.

Meanwhile, seafood prices are continuing to rise in the United States on the back of the disaster and many observers fear they have further to go before BP manage to cap the well. The Federal NOAA has also once again extended the no fishing zone in the Gulf region.