Top Law Firm Takes On Poultry Industry

SOUTH CAROLINA - The South Carolina law firm suing al-Qaida and its financiers for $ 1 trillion wants to help Oklahoma pluck millions of dollars from Arkansas poultry companies.

Suing al-Qaida is by far the biggest of the Motley Rice firm’s endeavors. But its attorneys have won millions representing clients suing the tobacco and asbestos industries. Its expertise in landing favorable judgments in lawsuits over transportation-related accidents has brought in millions more.

Those victories, however, pale in comparison to the potential fruits of a class-action case filed in 2002 on behalf of the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. That suit is against the al-Qaida terrorist group and Saudi Arabians the firm thinks financed the attacks.

Now, the firm’s attention is focused on poultry firms that Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson says are fouling the Illinois River watershed.

Motley Rice and two firms in Oklahoma are helping Edmondson represent his state in its federal lawsuit against eight poultry companies with operations in Arkansas. Edmondson blames them for polluting the watershed with poultry litter.

Joe Rice, a partner in Motley Rice, is best known for his skills as a negotiator and his work to get states a $ 246 billion settlement from tobacco companies in 1998. But he’s not new to Oklahoma’s dispute with the poultry industry.

Rice was one of the 20 to 25 lawyers who represented Oklahoma last year during negotiations with the poultry companies. Those negotiations failed to reach a settlement, and Edmondson filed the federal lawsuit in June.

Source: NWANews
calendar icon 6 February 2006
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