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Venable partner John Cooney and a team from Louisiana-based firm Jones Walker represented a group of plaintiffs who provide a myriad of services to support offshore oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, won, on June 22, a preliminary injunction in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana against the moratorium on deepwater drilling for oil in the Gulf of Mexico.

The moratorium was imposed by the Secretary of the Interior in response to the April 20 Deepwater Horizon explosion and fire.

In issuing the preliminary injunction in Hornbeck Offshore Services, L.L.C. v. Salazar, Judge Martin Feldman found that the plaintiffs have suffered and will continue to suffer irreparable harm as a result of the moratorium, as it would cause the plaintiffs to lose business and have an adverse effect on jobs and the economy in the Gulf region.

He also found that the government had failed to establish a sufficient factual basis for its "blanket, generic, indeed punitive, moratorium," and that therefore its action in implementing the moratorium was arbitrary and capricious.

The injunction made front page news around the world and numerous publications, including Am Law Litigation Daily and Law360, mentioned Venable's role in the case.