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BP accused of judge-shopping for seeking Republican judge to handle lawsuits

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In a move condemned yesterday by several legal experts as indicative of corporate arrogance but defended by others as accepted tactical manoeuvring, the British energy group has filed papers requesting that all pre-trial matters in litigation relating to the Deepwater Horizon disaster be assigned to US District Judge Lynn Hughes.

Judge Hughes, 69, who was nominated in 1985 by the Republican President, Ronald Reagan, is also a lecturer for the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, whose 31,000 members work mainly in the oil and gas industry and which works with oil companies including BP.

He has also earned thousands of dollars in royalties from leasing energy exploration companies the mineral rights on land that he owns — though not to BP — owned stock in Big Oil and has granted significant rulings in the industry’s favour.

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