Coastal Business | ArcelorMittal Reports Earnings – Sun News

ArcelorMittal, the world largest steel producer, reported gains in the first half of 2010 but would not say if those gains mean the plant in Georgetown will be reopening soon.

The company was able to meet its $3 billion cost-savings goal for the year in the first six months. Iron ore production increased 34 percent and crude steel production increased 54 percent compared to the first half of 2009.

But James Sanderson, president of the Local 7898 United Steel Workers Union, said that because those numbers are worldwide, they may not have a direct impact on Georgetown. “We’re just going to have to wait and see,” he said.

An ArcelorMittal spokeswoman said, “ArcelorMittal and the United Steelworkers will continue dialogue about the market and a potential reopening of the Georgetown facility.” The mill shut down a year ago because of a lack of orders.

BP lawsuits may come to Charleston

Georgetown lawyer Ed Bell, who represents several Grand Strand businesses and individuals in class action lawsuits against BP, wants the cases against the company and its subsidiaries to be heard in Charleston.

Last week, Bell was one of 23 lawyers who presented recommendations to a judicial panel charged with deciding where hundreds of cases filed against BP in the wake of the oil spill will be heard.

More than 100 lawyers attended the hearing of the seven-member U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation in Boise, Idaho, and those that spoke offered up suggestions of where the cases should be tried and which judge should oversee the more than 300 cases that have been filed against BP and its subcontractors on the Deepwater Horizon.

Bell, the lead lawyer on several class action lawsuits filed on behalf of business owners and individuals along the Grand Strand and a partner at the Bell Legal Group, was one of only 23 attorneys who spoke to the panel.

Bell told them that the district court in Charleston would be the best venue for the trial.

“His reason behind that was that we need a neutral setting for the litigation,” said Aaron Jophlin, also a lawyer with the Bell Legal Group who accompanied Bell to Idaho.

The other potential sites recommended included Houston and New Orleans, but Bell said that in both those areas people have strong emotional ties to the oil industry and the spill so it would be more difficult to have a neutral environment, Jophlin said.

The panel should decide where the cases are heard in the coming weeks.

The three lawsuits filed on behalf of local property owners and restaurants that say the oil from the spill is threatening South Carolina’s beaches, fishing habitats and business interests, are on hold until a trial location is established.