Local TV lawyer accused of misconduct in BP oil spill cases
Glen Lerner, the Las Vegas injury attorney who advertises his ability to get clients a check if they’re in a wreck, has been ordered by a Louisiana judge to explain why he shouldn’t be disqualified from representing people affected by the 2010 BP oil spill.
Lerner is accused of giving his clients a “special advantage,” namely pushing their claims ahead of others so they get paid faster. He was one of four attorneys U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier named as under investigation earlier this month.
Barbier is overseeing a $7.8 billion court-supervised settlement program compensating people and companies affected by the Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history. A British Petroleum oil rig sank and spewed millions of gallons of oil for almost three months after an April 2010 explosion.
Barbier appointed former FBI director Louis Freeh to investigate the allegations after BP officials complained of misconduct.
Freeh found possible conflicts of interest involving Lerner, as well as attorneys Lionel Sutton, Christine Reitano and Jon Andry. Lerner denies misconduct.
“Glen Lerner remains a zealous advocate for his clients on the Gulf Coast whose lives and livelihoods have been forever changed by the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in 2010,” Lerner’s lawyer, Dominic Gentile, said in a statement. “Glen has cooperated with Special Master Freeh’s inquiry and does not agree with all of the special master’s report. He strenuously denies any suggestion of misconduct on his part and looks forward to addressing the facts at the appropriate time in a fair and public proceeding.”
In addition to running personal injury law practices in Florida, Illinois, Arizona, Minnesota and Las Vegas, Lerner is a partner with Andry in the Andry Lerner firm in New Orleans. The practice was established in 2012 to represent clients in the Deepwater Horizon settlement program.
Sutton, Andry and Lerner were law school classmates at Tulane University.
Freeh said Sutton served as an inside agent for Andry and Lerner at the claims administrator’s office “with the purpose and effect of giving their claims a special advantage.”
Freeh recommended that his findings be turned over to the Justice Department and the U.S. attorney’s office to determine whether Sutton, Reitano, Andry and Lerner violated federal law.
Lerner’s website has a page dedicated to the Deepwater Horizon settlement program and refers prospective clients to Andry Lerner.