Archive for the ‘Liability’ Category

Jack Massey Writes on Crisis Response in Texas Lawyer Newspaper

Posted on: October 10th, 2016

Houston commercial litigator Jack Massey, who is on the Sutherland Asbill & Brennan crisis response team, outlined what goes on behind the scenes of a major disaster in an article for Texas Lawyer newspaper.

Headlined “The Aftermath of Deepwater Horizon: Responding to a Catastrophe,” the article’s publication coincided with the recent release of the movie, “Deepwater Horizon.” As a member of the legal team in Houston that represented the drilling contractor in the real Deepwater Horizon disaster of 2010, Mr. Massey wrote: “By my count, what happened on the rig was litigated at least five times,” counting the regulatory hearings, a presidential oil spill commission, the assessment of investigative reports, the BP employee prosecutions and finally the federal multidistrict litigation. In addition, there were the demands from the media, state governments, Congress, shareholders, employees and other regulators.

“Books could be written about the particulars of these actions, but they share one overarching characteristic: Each was greatly influenced by how the parties reacted in the days and months following the blowout. Practically speaking, the successes (and failures) of the parties’ crisis responses drew battle lines, framed issues, and materially affected liability,” Mr. Massey wrote.

He listed the major steps essential for dealing with such a crisis: coordination, control, mobilization of the best experts, and finally, playing the long game, which is aided by people who have been through big crises before.

His conclusion: “Dwight Eisenhower said that plans are nothing, but planning is everything. That’s the essence of crisis response — knowing the risks and opportunities so well that any exigency can be handled.”