U.S. Judge: State To Try Suit Against Oil Companies

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal judge has sent a Plaquemines Parish lawsuit against 19 oil and gas companies back to state court for trial.

         NOLA.com/ The Times-Picayune’s Mark Schleifstein reports that U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey's ruling sets the stage for the return of 27 others suits to state courts in Plaquemines and Jefferson parishes.

         Zainey ruled Monday that defendants had not proved they met federal court requirements for moving the case out of state court.

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         The lawsuits say that the companies should repair or pay for damages from canals dredged decades ago through fragile wetlands and from toxic wastes put in unlined pits near drilling sites.

         Other federal judges put the other lawsuits on hold to wait for Zainey's ruling. It was posted Tuesday in the court's electronic filing system.

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