The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has suspended its 20-minute time limit on oral argument for In re Oil Spill by the Oil Rig "Deepwater Horizon" in the Gulf of Mexico, on April 20, 2010, MDL No. 2179. The order says:
In light of the exceptionally large number of briefs filed in this docket, as well as the breadth of views contained therein, the Panel is suspending Panel Rule 16.1(g) (limiting oral argument to a maximum of twenty minutes), in this docket, for purposes of the July 29, 2010, hearing session.1
At the same time, the Panel takes this opportunity to remind the parties of its guidelines for oral argument (available on the Panel's website: www.jpml.uscourts.gov). The Panel views oral argument as a means (1) to update the Panel on any events that have occurred since the conclusion of briefing, and (2) to allow counsel to emphasize the key points of their arguments. Where numerous parties share a viewpoint (e.g., advocating centralization in a specific district), the Panel ordinarily will require that a single spokesperson present that position at oral argument.
1 At this time, the Panel does not anticipate allotting more than a total of one hour to oral argument in this docket. At the hearing session, the Panel will hear oral argument in this docket first (i.e., prior to oral argument in any of the other twelve dockets), followed by oral argument in MDL No. 2185, In re: BP p.l.c. Securities Litigation.
The Panel also issued a Media Press Release advising reporters that they'll have to apply for and wear a badge to attend the hearing.
Blawgletter expects to present argument in a different matter and looks forward to one of the most interesting MDL sessions in memory.