Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

OKC Attorneys Prepare for Changing Legal Issues

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

OKC Attorneys Prepare for Changing Legal Issues

Article excerpt

A new year and a new state Legislature will bring major changes in Oklahoma's most important legal issues, Oklahoma City attorneys predicted this week.

"Republican control of the Senate is really the lead legal development this year," said Robert McCampbell, former U.S. attorney and now partner at Crowe & Dunlevy law firm.

"Glenn Coffee and his leadership will have all sorts of options available to them now, so the question is how they will exercise that control to pursue their policy agenda," McCampbell said of the Senate president pro tempore from Oklahoma City. "I think tort reform is going to be an issue again, and with Republicans controlling both houses of the Legislature, I think a significant tort reform bill will be submitted to the governor. ... Coffee and his leadership team may well want to undertake some procedural reform in the Senate as well."

At the other end of the legal system, in court developments the ongoing chicken waste disposal issue between the state and the poultry industry "is huge for both sides," McCampbell said. Law partner Miles Tolbert, former state secretary of the environment, agreed.

"The most significant issue that an Oklahoma court will reach this year is the state's Illinois River lawsuit. I think that both sides of the dispute agree that the stakes are very high. One sees the future of an industry at stake - the other the future of a river. This fall a jury will decide the question," Tolbert said.

In 2005, Attorney General Drew Edmondson filed suit on behalf of Oklahoma against the major poultry players in Arkansas, alleging the waste from their operations has been polluting the Illinois River, which affects Oklahoma's water supply. …

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