Brent Coon & Associates – Other Law Firms fight venue change for TPC case

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Brent Coon & Associates – Other Law Firms fight venue change for TPC case

Jefferson County law firms representing clients impacted by the Nov. 27 explosion at TPC Group in Port Neches are fighting a motion by the company they say could move their civil claims cases to another jurisdiction.

The company, represented by Baker Botts, filed a motion in January to pause all court activities involving the case and move it to a multi-district litigation court that could decide which district court the case should be heard in.

Representatives for Brent Coon and Associates, Provost Umphrey and Ferguson Law Firm all filed their own responses to the motion in the following days, arguing the case should remain in Jefferson County, where the incident occurred and the affected residents live.

Mark Sparks, a partner in the Ferguson Law Firm, said the motion could stall activities in the case, including more inspections of the site, for months while the courts decide how to act.

TPC Group lawyers have not argued that the company wouldn’t be able to get a fair trial in Jefferson County. Rather, Baker Botts attorney Russell Lewis described the company’s motion means to simplify the process

“Plaintiffs obtained temporary restraining orders in five cases—including four orders in Jefferson County and one in Harris County—that imposed differing requirements on the TPC Defendants,” representatives for TPC Group wrote in the brief.

“While TPC has complied with all court orders, the pursuit by 5 different plaintiffs’ counsel in two counties of varying forms of injunction orders underscores the need for a more orderly process,” Lewis said in a prepared statement.

The three Jefferson County firms challenge that claim.

“I pointed out there is nothing inconsistent in the restraining order,” Sparks said. “The inconsistent part would be two different judges that are ordering two different things. There is none of that here.”

Other lawyers pointed out the efforts that their own firms and others outside of the county have taken to consolidate cases and work to make the process run more smoothly.

(See the full story by clicking here, Beaumont Enterprise 2020)

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