Lawyers for BP and the government are set to begin the third and final phase today of the trial over its 2010 oil spill. A Tulane University expert on maritime law says there are billions of dollars at stake.

Federal judge Carl Barbier has been overseeing the complex litigation over the 2010 disaster.

Tulane law professor Martin Davies is director of the Tulane Maritime Law Center. He says that process has proven much faster than scheduling jury trials. Barbier has already made key rulings in the case.

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The U.S. Supreme Court won't step ahead of a federal appeals panel in New Orleans to hear an appeal over Louisiana's same-sex marriage.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal heard the case Friday.

But, in an unusual move, both supporters of same-sex marriage and the state had already asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case before the appeal is decided.

Jesse Hardman / WWNO

Arguments were heard in New Orleans challenging Louisiana’s Defense of Marriage Act, which denies marriage to same sex couples. 

Louisiana was one of three Defense of Marriage Act cases heard by the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. In addition to Louisiana, cases for Mississippi and Texas were also heard by the three-judge panel.

Ken Upton is the Senior Counsel for Lambda Legal. That organization is representing a group of seven Louisiana same sex couples who are appealing a recent federal judge’s decision to uphold the state ban.

The U.S. Supreme Court is considering whether to take up Robicheaux v. George -- the case challenging Louisiana’s ban on the marriage of same-sex couples. It may be the case that decides the issue once and for all for the entire nation.

A federal appeals court in New Orleans heard arguments on Wednesday about the constitutionality of a Texas abortion law.

The arguments were before a three-judge panel of the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals, concerning Texas House Bill 2 — a broad package of abortion legislation passed in Texas in 2013. The new rules require abortion clinics to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal in New Orleans is hearing two Texas cases that are drawing local and national attention. One later Wednesday involves restrictions on abortion clinics, and another set for a hearing Friday involving same-sex marriage.

A state judge says the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources was too quick in granting a permit for a proposed coal export terminal in Plaquemines Parish.

State Judge Kevin Conner in Belle Chasse ruled that the state agency should not have granted a permit to RAM Terminals because too little research was done into alternative locations.

He ordered DNR to re-evaluate the permit.

The coal terminal has become a point of contention.

It was an abrupt reversal of fortune that stirred lingering resentment and fresh tears more than nine years after Hurricane Katrina: Louisiana’s Supreme Court overturned rulings from two lower courts and tossed out a lawsuit that said roughly 7,500 New Orleans public school employees were wrongfully fired after levee failures during the 2005 storm led to inundation of the city.

A grand jury has indicted an Orleans Parish sheriff's deputy in connection with a stabbing inside Orleans Parish Prison.

The Sheriff's Office said 42-year-old John Dupart was charged with counts of malfeasance in office and principal to aggravated battery. The Sheriff's Office says Dupart did not follow procedures, which resulted in an altercation at the jail.

Dupart is not accused of taking part in any violent act himself. His attorney says the allegation is that Dupart didn't stop a fight.